Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Self Indulgence

I admit it, I have been a bit self indulgent this month.  Focusing my blogging on one of my great loves, which is gardening.  Yet, it isn't just the blogging, I love gardening and spending time out of doors, actually both Tina and I do.  Not only do we find it relaxing we also find it very inspiring for our jewelry designing.

As the new month of June begins tomorrow, I realize being self indulgent isn't necessarily a good thing.  You see it hasn't just been in my blogging, it has also been me spending as much time as possible in my garden.   While finding it life affirming, relaxing and most often meditative, being that self indulgent isn't practical.  I have been neglecting both large and small responsibilities.  It is time for me to get back to finding that balance that allows me to meet both my responsibilities and indulge my passions.   While I will still blog about gardening, it is time to get back to business and write some blogs about our jewelry business and follow thru on other personal responsibilities I have been neglecting. 

Do you have a hobby you are so passionate about that you will temporarily neglect your responsibilities to pursue?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

It's Memorial Day, have you honored a fallen soldier today?

Memorial  Day is a United States of America holiday, created  to remember our fallen hero's.  Those men and women who gave there lives defending our country.  These men and women should be honored and held in high esteem for doing their service for our country.  Which allows us to maintain a peaceful existence and the right to freedoms.  The freedom of speech, dress, religion and the right to bear arms do not come free, we pay a high price for them in the loss of loved ones.   

Originally known as Decoration Day it was enacted after the American Civil War to honor both Union and Confederate fallen soldiers.   It was then extended after World War I to include fallen soldiers in all wars.  Yet, has remained on the last  Monday in May as the time to honor our fallen hero's.

While it is still honored today, many have either forgotten what the holiday was started for .  Or there are those who have expanded  on it as a time to visit all those they have lost, most especially loved ones lost in a war.   Either way it is time to remember that our fallen soldiers who have served a valid, honorable and brave service for us and our country.

Political beliefs should hold no sway in how the men and women of our armed services are remembered.  They are there to defend our borders and our rights.  If we don't agree  with the politics that put them in harms way, change it by getting involved and voting in different political representatives.  But do not dishonor the men and women of our armed services whom are doing the job they are given regardless of their own personal beliefs.  If they can set them aside to serve our country, then we should be equally respectful and set them aside to honor the men and women who believe in our system and way of life enough to put themselves in harms way day after day, so we may continue enjoying our way of life and those freedoms that come with that way of life.  

While we should honor these men and women year round, today it is especially important to stop our busy lives and take a moment to honor and remember those that have proudly served and then fallen in their patriotic service of our country.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Garden Delights 5/29/11

"If you have a mind at peace, a heart that cannot harden,
                                      go find a door that opens wide upon a lovely garden."


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Portland Saturday Market 5/28/11

Earlier this month I gave a brief view of how our days start at Portland Saturday Market.  Today, I thought I would let you see what the vendor spaces look like in the morning before the market opens.  
Rain slick streets at Portland Saturday Market
Rain slick streets at Portland Saturday Market

Early morning vendor set up
Early morning vendor set up

Tie dye booth setting up for the weekend
Tie dye booth setting up for the weekend

Set up starts three to four hours before the market opens
Set up starts three to four hours before the market opens

Bare bones of the market
Bare bones of the market

Morning are different for each vendors
Morning are different for each vendors

Early mornings are quiet at PSM
Early mornings are quiet at PSM

Food booths prior to open
Food booths prior to open

Booths look bare during set up
Booths look bare during set up

Vendors decorating booth during set up
Vendors decorating booth during set up

Each vendors booth set up is different
Each vendors booth set up is different

Vendors moving product and booth set up in
Vendors moving product and booth set up in

Unique booths take more time to set up
Unique booths take more time to set up

Portland Saturday Market hosts a variety of food options
Portland Saturday Market hosts a variety of food options.

A lot of work goes into the planning and implementation of Portland Saturday Market. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Types of Gardens --- Part Two

The types of gardens I am talking about today are the more unusual types. Included in this list are types that are very difficult, environmentally challenging due to climate, maintenance time prohibitive or ones that most of us, just do not have the land availability to achieve the desired look. That description does not apply to all of the ones being talked about today, but they are definitely not your common everyday variety of gardening.

1.) Bog Garden ---

Is a natural or landscaped artificial bog, which is a soft waterlogged area of land. I am personally not a fan of bog gardens for the simple fact they attract mosquitoes. However I have seen some that have been absolutely gorgeous.

2.) Water garden ---

Aquatic plants planted in any container type of container that creates an artificial water environment. This can be anything from an ornamental tub, pond or pot.

3.) Marsh ---

Often it is a plot of land that forms a transition between land and water. It contains herbaceous vegetation and is normally land that is soft, wet and low –lying.

4.) Swamp ---

Generally has better drainage than a bog and contains more woody plants that a marsh. It is usually bottomland that floods seasonally.

5.) Soilless gardening ---

This type of gardening is better known as hydroponics, when plants are grown in a nutrient solution rather than growing them in soil. While this is not a type of gardening that I have personally done, I do know several people that do this type of gardening. It is a great alternative for someone with limited space.

6.) Topiary ---

Topiary is a very unique type of gardening that most do on a much smaller scale than in older times. You truly have to be an artist to have these not only turn out well, but to stay looking nice as they grow. Basically it is sculpting with live plants. Whether you are shaping vines, usually ivy, around a wire frame, or shearing hedges into shapes, like a bird, it is a unique type of gardening. Herbs do well as topiaries for shaping around wire frames and they make a nice useful living decoration for the kitchen. Herb topiaries are fun to make, I enjoy having several in herb topiaries in my kitchen.

7.) Conservatory ---

When I hear this term I think of the conservatories described in books of historical times. Essentially it is a permanent indoor garden. Can be a room for growing plants only, but usually it is set up as a display area for the growing plants. Sometimes it will also include for people to sit and enjoy sometime among the plants.

I would love to have a conservatory, keeps me dreaming and working…lol

8.) Dish Garden ---

These are fun to create and have around the house and so simple to do. They are a container planted with a variety of indoor plants, created to mimic a garden scene.

9.) Terrarium ---

An older term is bottle garden and Wardian case. Basically it is a transparent container with a tightly fitted glass cover, in which plants are grown in soil. I have attempted on several occasions to grow plants in a terrarium. The conclusion I have come to is it is an art form unto itself, which takes patience and practice. One day I will try again, for now though I am focusing on establishing my vegetable gardens.

10.) Moon garden ---

Is created with plants that have all white blooms with the intent to create a beautiful night garden, for summer enjoyment.

11.) Butterfly garden ---

Is a garden designed and planted in the hopes of attracting butterflies and there larvae.

12.) Themed Gardens ---

Are exactly what they sound like, you pick a theme and then choose plants that fit your theme. I am not talking about fruit, herb or vegetable garden. Color can be a theme, type of plants can be a theme, or the most popular known theme garden is the Shakespeare garden. The Shakespeare garden features flowers and plants mentioned in “William Shakespeare’s” plays and sonnets. Let your imagination roam.

13.) Hot house ---

A fancy name for a heated greenhouse, however it is usually also set up for touring and display.

14.) Rock garden ---

Created with alpine plants and rock, usually it is plants that are native to mountainous regions. However, I have created several over the years with succulents that have grown well and looked absolutely marvelous. My rule of thumb when gardening is go with your instinct rules were meant to be broken and I do it as often as I can, especially when gardening.

Ah if only time allowed and I had enough land space, I would have so many of these. My big project over the next couple of years is to transform my front lawn into either a rock garden or a natural landscape. Something that will look nice, require minimum watering, time and maintenance requirements. We shall see how that project develops.

Any big projects you are working on or want to work on? Doesn’t have to be garden related.

You also might be interested in reading Tips for a Successful Garden, Garden Terminology, Garden Tools Part One, Part Two and Part Three, Types of Gardens --- Part One, and Planting Styles.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spring Flowers 5/25/11

These spring flowers have been blooming since I moved in to my home six years ago.  Have always wondered what they were.    This spring we have tracked down and think they are "Star of Bethlehem's".   What ever they are they always bring a smile and a lift to the spirit when I look at them.    As I know summer is just around the corner, so I thought I would share them today in place of my usual  whimsy Wednesday.

Six petal white flower
Six petal white flower

Dual petals with six inner petals
Dual petals with six inner petals
Bouquet of flowers in bloom, Star of Bethlehem
Bouquet of flowers in bloom, Star of Bethlehem

Are you willing to share what heralds the coming of summer to you?  We would love to hear about it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pretty Gonzo --- Featured Artisan

Our interview with Pretty Gonzo:

1. When and how did you first become interested in crafting?

When I was a little girl, my mother worked nights and an elderly aunt took care of me. She made hooked rugs ... the old-fashioned kind, out of woolen fabric that she would cut with a little hand-cranked rotary blade. Seeing her make these wondrous rugs instilled in me a deep respect for creativity and a desire to put things together to create something that hadn't quite been there before. I never had a knack for hooking rugs, but my aunt encouraged me to draw and sew instead. From then on, I've been creative in various ways, from writing poetry to painting/drawing to learning crafts like crocheting and now earring making, which is my first step toward jewelry making.
Meet Gonzo whom the shop is named after.

2. How long have you been creating your chosen craft?

Since last summer. I began doing it as a form of physical therapy for a nerve-damaged left hand ... my main hand. My thumb of that hand is rather numb and my hand now tends to have a mind of its own, which I try to remain amazed at rather than depressed over.

Green Jasper Earrings with Leverbacks

3. What are your crafting influences?

I really like to think about history or myth when making earrings. Also, I've made some awareness ribbon earrings, as my father had Alzheimer's Disease, and I wanted to make earrings for that. The pairs I make are really meditations on my dad and the highly intelligent, compassionate man he was before Alzheimer's essentially dismantled him.

4. Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?

As I mentioned, my aunt hooked rugs. She also sewed, oil painted (she took it up at age 70 or so), and did terrific crocheting, knitting, and Italian cutwork. No one makes jewelry, but I see all these crafts and talents as interrelated in the warp and weave of creativity and beauty. To me, anything handmade is intrinsically a thing of beauty. It celebrates both the individual and the community. And it links us back into history.

Sapphire Blue Crystal Earrings

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

I have my shop at ArtFire and my blog. That's about it at this point for the earrings. I love ArtFire and the environment of such energized, creative people ... nice people, too.

6. What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?

I'm currently designing a series of book covers for someone, and I continue to work on my own writing and on learning more about digital composing. For years I was a book editor/designer. Editing is intense, time-consuming work, and when my parents needed my help because of the Alzheimer's, all signs read "It's time for change." I always loved the book designing/composing part of my job, though; so I'm thrilled to be doing these current book covers. Fortunately, I use a mouse with my right hand, as years ago keyboard wires favored right-handers and forced lefties to adapt; so no problem there!

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

I guess my pearl chandelier earrings because I based them on earrings in funeral portraits of ancient Roman women. I also like anything I've created that includes spirals. Spirals are age-old, meaningful, wonderful. I always feel a connection to people of all cultures and all times.

Pearl Chandelier Earrings

8. Why did you make that piece?

Because I find ancient Rome fascinating, especially the Empire centuries, and because those funeral portraits look so realistic and the women almost contemporary. The earrings were a way to celebrate connection.

9. What does it take to create pieces like that?

For me probably much more difficulty than other, more experienced jewelry makers. My left hand doesn't tend to do what I want it to do, so there was a lot of redoing with the hand-looped top of the earrings. I have to be patient in general when making earrings. I redo a lot and constantly have to fight dropping what I'm holding, like pliers.

Brass Spiral Earrings with Yellow Beads and Triangles

10. What is special about your pieces?

I guess that there's always a lot of thinking behind them, even if that's not always evident. I never just throw something together. For example, if I use a yellow bead, it may be because I'm remembering swinging on swings in the sun when I was little and being very happy. Every bead is a thought.

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

I'm not sure what you mean by "good to you," but I know it's good for me because it is allowing me to keep creating something physical. I can work in Photoshop to digitally compose this or that; but there's nothing like the material presence of something that you have made. Plus the craft does act as a form of physical therapy for me. I'm hoping to get back into drawing and painting again, but I know I'll keep making earrings too and hopefully will start on other kinds of jewelry and maybe even get into bead making. I love earrings, and I love jewelry ... always have. And it's great to have satisfied customers and to think, "Wow! That person is happy with what they bought and will wear it!" That's just a fantastic feeling.

 Pretty Gonzo can be found at the following links:

My Blog 


PrettyGonzo Studio on Artfire
Cat Earrings with Blue Cats Eye Beads

Monday, May 23, 2011

Today 5/23/11

Today we have been working on cleaning up our blog.

With the problems blogger was having last week and life being crazy busy it will probably take a couple of days for us to complete over the next couple of weeks. 

Please bear with us during this clean up, as there is more than we realized and some items have been brought to light that need attention that we didn't realize.

Question of the week,  What would you like to see more of in our blog?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Types of Gardens --- Part One

The type of garden you choose to plant plays an important role in choosing your soil needs as well as your choice of plants available to grow. Most of the below list I have tried myself over the years , yet some I have only dreamed about doing, due to space limitations.

Practical applications of each one are going to differ depending on the size of space you have available. Don’t be afraid to try a style that appeals to you on a smaller scale. Gardening is as adaptable as one’s imagination allows it to be.

The following list includes 14 of the most common types of gardens:

1.) Bed

Can be a flower or vegetable bed, the distinctive character is that all four sides are visible, basically if you can walk around it is a true bed.

Though to be honest I refer to all of my beds that have distinct borders as beds even though you cannot walk all the way around them or see them from all sides. This is because when I learned terms as a child this is how they were referred to. And the one flower bed we had you could walk all the way around was referred to as an Island or Isolated bed.

2.) Carpet bedding ---

Is a type of mass planting of low growing mostly foliage plants. That when grown in represent the designs found in Oriental carpets, a style that isn’t seen or used much today. Yet, it was very popular in the Victorian era.

I have done this type of planting once. It was very pretty the first year, however I chose plants that were not conducive to being a long term option, so I had to take it out.

3.) Container gardening ---

Is exactly what it sounds like. Used by some for the occasional plant, however others whom lack space make up for it with an increased number of containers within which they garden.

In several of the places I have lived over the years dirt space was limited. The one apartment I lived in I had over 40 containers, between the small porch and my window space. Fresh vegetables, fresh herbs and pretty flowers, it was so worth it.

4.) Cottage garden ---

Is an informally planted flower garden, usually located in a front yard. The same style can be used for an herb garden by the kitchen door or a small plot of vegetables. Generally there is a front gate with a straight path to the door to the house.

5.) Cutting garden ---

This is a simple flower bed that is grown for the sole purpose of being able to harvest the cut flowers for display in the home, generally being displayed in some type of vase. Generally, you will find annuals and plants that bloom repeatedly throughout the year.

6.) Formal garden ---

A very rigid style of gardening that usually has geometric patterns with pruned hedges and very defined paths. This is not a style of gardening I have every tried, I personally like the more natural look. It also requires a rather large garden to pull this off and look right.

7.) Kitchen garden ---

Always located near the house with vegetables and herbs planted with the intent to use them in cooking, this type of garden can be any size. I have done successful kitchen gardens in the past planting everything in containers, however the term Kitchen Garden is specifically referring to a plot of land being planted.

8.) Knot garden ---

This is a type of formal garden bed with small compact herbs and shrubs, which is planted in intricate designs. They are usually intertwining patterns that are kept neat by frequent pruning.

9.) Meadow garden ---

Will include native wildflowers and grasses with the mixes of herbaceous perennial plants and maintained by simply mowing.

10.) Prairie gardening ---

A garden bed that is created and contains nothing but a selection of grasses from the Midwestern United States.

11.) Raised bed gardening ---

Is any bed that is built up higher than ground level.

12.) Square root gardening ---

An efficient and popular way of arranging plants in a vegetable garden. It keeps it simple and easy to maintain.

13.) Sunken garden ---

Generally the center part of a garden that has multiple levels to it, however it is always the lowest level of the garden.

14.) Window box ---

A planter box placed just beneath a window. While I love the look of them I haven’t lived in a place that allows for having a window box, though I love the look of them.

While you may find it odd to find we talk about the outdoors and gardening so much, it really isn’t. We enjoy spending time out of doors and derive such joy and inspiration from the time spent outdoors it seems natural to us to share that with others. Especially since the outdoors and especially our personal gardening spaces provide a great deal of inspiration for our jewelry designs.

Here is one of our designs inspired by nature:

Yellow Flower Lampwork on a Blue Bracelet
Yellow Flower Lampwork on a Blue Bracelet

Blue wire work bracelet
Blue wire work bracelet

Please share some of the things that inspire you?

 You also might be interested in reading Tips for a Successful Garden, Garden Terminology, Garden Tools Part One, Part Two and Part Three, and Planting Styles, Types of Gardens --- Part Two

Edited 5/23/11 to add missing links.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Portland Saturday Market 5/21/11

Naito Parkway is the main road,  I think it is also the name of the fabulous park that surrounds Portland Saturday Market.  But I could be wrong, the official name eludes us all as everyone in the area refers to it as the waterfront.   On beautiful sunny days it is always busy, in the morning especially and throughout the day you will find runners, walkers and bicyclists.   You will even see people in tandem bikes or buggy type contraptions cycling down the boardwalk.  
Boardwalk on the waterfront
Boardwalk on the waterfront

Trees in the park
Trees in the park

Boardwalk running through the park
Boardwalk running through the park

Park next to the location of Portland Saturday Market
Park next to the location of Portland Saturday Market

Park on Naito
Park on Naito

Waterfront boardwalk in Portland, Oregon
Waterfront boardwalk in Portland, Oregon

Park located in downtown Portland
Park located in downtown Portland

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Whimsy Wednesday 5/18/11

Spring Lilacs

Lilacs blooming in my yard is when I know spring has truly come to the Pacific Northwest.   As someone whom loves to garden, I am blessed to live in an area with such a temperate climate that allows for a long growing season.  Not only that but the variety we can grow here in the Northwest is vast and diverse.

Purple lilacs
Purple lilacs

Blooming lilacs
Blooming lilacs

Flowering lilacs
Flowering lilacs
Hope you have enjoyed a brief whimsical look at my blooming lilac bush.  While there is never enough time to garden with the busy lives we lead, I treasure every moment I spend in my garden.  For me it is relaxing, meditative and rejuvenating.  Not to mention inspirational for my jewelry designs.

This is a piece I created after spending some time in my garden this spring.  Be the first to see it, as of this posting it has not yet been listed in our studio.

Amethyst gemstone and amethyst wire Viking Knit Bracelet
Amethyst gemstone and amethyst wire Viking Knit Bracelet

What is one activity you treasure and would like more time for?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Flia Designs ---- Featured Artisan

Hello,  My name is Tina and I live in Sweden. My studio name is FliaDesign as I call myself Flia sometimes.

When and how did you first become interested in crafting?

I can't remember a time when I wasn't crafting one way or another. I always have ideas in my head, and usually it's not the craft or technique that's important, but the result. But crochet is the craft I've done since childhood and it's the one I know best.

How long have you been creating your chosen craft?

As I said, I've been crocheting since I was little, but only 2006 started to make jewelry. It started with a new found interest in beading, and the crochet seemed a natural way to go forward from there.

What are your crafting influences?

I love beautiful shapes. When I see one I often carry the scene with me home, and start experimenting to recreate it. Mostly I end up with something totally different, but the inspiration often comes from what I see around me.

Bead cord spiral earrings black/silver
Spiral Earrings

Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?

My mother did some crocheting, knitting and embroidery, and she taught me how to crochet. None of my siblings do crafts though.

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

Local craft fairs is my main scene, and last year I had my jewelry displayed in a local shop owned by a crafters guild. Now and then I list items on Ebay and Tradera (the Swedish equivalent to Ebay), and I have my own website as well.

I tried blogging as well, but had to abolish that since various personal reasons prohibit me from keeping it updated.

What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?

At the moment I concentrate on the Cobweb items, trying out different ways to use the pattern. Otherwise I knit and crochet for personal use, and sometimes make embroidered things that people around med ask for.

I also frequently help others to make crochet and embroidery patterns.

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

I guess I must say the lilac cobweb earrings that I actually made for myself

Why did you make that piece?

I love the lilac colour and working with this one was a true joy.

What does it take to create pieces like that?

Inspiration of course, good light and time.

What is special about your pieces?

I made my first pair of earrings first, and only later wrote down the pattern for them. I never make anything I don't love myself, since finding different ways to create beauty is my drive.

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

Being creative is part of who I am, and nothing I can opt out from. It's also the number one healer in my life and going to bed without having sat down with my jewelry for a while is agonizing.

I simply have to make, or start making, something beautiful every day.

embroidery pattern created for a friend.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garden Delights 5/15/2011

"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
 --Greek proverb

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Portland Saturday Market 5-14-11

We had a blast at Portland Saturday Market this weekend.   The Annual Doggie Dash was happening, it was great fun watching all the dogs walk their owners.   So many pretty dogs to admire.

Turtle walking his dog
Turtle walking his dog

Annual Doggie Dash 2011
Annual Doggie Dash 2011

Street performers
Street performers

Walkers in the doggie dash
Walkers in the doggie dash

Dog walkers enjoying the day
Dog walkers enjoying the day

Food court at Portland Saturday Market
Food court at Portland Saturday Market

Friday, May 13, 2011

Garden Planting Styles

Garden planting styles are different than types of gardens. I am sure that somewhere out there is a more technical term for them both, but this is how I learned it. Planting styles refer to how, you choose to plant and deal with the plants in a continuous manner. While garden types tend to be more about the shape and overall look of the garden.

Here is a list of ten planting styles that I have used over the years, which seem to work well. Some of it is trial an error to find which type works best for your gardening personality and of course location.

1.) Companion planting ---

Is the practice of planting certain types of plants together in an effort to deter and repel insects and disease.

2.) Crop rotation ---

Is the practice of planting different crops in a rotating manner on the same piece of land each season. This is done to avoid the risk of soil borne diseases and to reduce the depletion of the nutrients in the soil.

Even small gardens benefit from this practice, especially when growing vegetables year after year. I have had success in doing this and have found that it cuts down the need to amend the soil every single year.

3.) Habitat ---

Refers to a plants native growing environment and includes its natural ecological community it belongs in. This is important to consider for any plants you intend to add to your garden as it will affect how much water, time, and effort will be required to maintain your garden.

4.) Lath house ---

A structure with narrow boards creating slats which protect plants from harsh dry winds and hot sun. Yet, the design of the structure is such that it still allows air and light to reach the plants.  This is typically a seasonal growing environment for items like mushrooms.

5.) Succession planting ---

Planning and planting crops every few days or weeks apart for continual fresh crop availability all season long.

6.) Organic gardening ---

While currently a catch phrase, it is actually a very old gardening style. It is the system of using only natural ingredients in the growth process. Avoiding all synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is managed by the use and creation of your own compost pile.

7.) Natural gardening ---

Simply a style of gardening that features native plants to the region they are being grown. And it allows for the plants to grow in a natural state with minimal maintenance. This style of garden minimizes the need for fertilizers and pesticides to be used.

8.) Edible Landscaping ---

The practice of designing your entire landscape around the ability to grow vegetables, fruit and herbs for consumption with the occasional annual flower tossed in for a nontraditional look. Self sustaining individuals will do this to maximize space and b e less dependent upon store availability.

9.) Naturalization –

This is different than natural gardening that is planned and maintained. Usually it refers to plants that grow and propagate without any outside assistance. Bulb plants, berry bushes, and the like are excellent examples of this type of growth.

While not a typical garden style for the whole yard. It is done on a small scale in certain sections. Allowing for minimal maintenance in areas to lower the amount of upkeep required.

10.) Mixed Border ---

When you hear this term, what people are usually referring to is a mix planting on an edge or a very narrow strip. Generally it is planted with shrubs, bulbs, annuals, and perennials, that require little in the way of long term maintenance.

Would you be willing to share some of your success's with different planting styles? 

You also might be interested in reading Tips for a Successful Garden, Garden Terminology, Garden Tools Part One, Part Two and Part Three, and Types of Gardens.

Edited 5/23/11 to add link for types of gardens.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Humorous Whimsy Wednesday 5/11/11

A Novel Approach to Saving Money

Three engineers and three accountants are traveling by train to a conference. At the station, the three accountants each buy tickets and watch as the three engineers buy only a single ticket.

"How are three people going to travel on only one ticket?" asks an accountant.

"Watch and you'll see," answers an engineer.

They all board the train. The accountants take their respective seats but all three engineers cram into a restroom and close the door behind them. Shortly after the train has departed, the conductor comes around collecting tickets. He knocks on the restroom door and says, "Ticket, please."

The door opens just a crack and a single arm emerges with a ticket in hand. The conductor takes it and moves on.

The accountants saw this and agreed it was quite a clever idea. So after the conference, the accountants decide to copy the engineers on the return trip and save some money (being clever with money, and all that). When they get to the station, they buy a single ticket for the return trip. To their astonishment, the engineers don't buy a ticket at all.

"How are you going to travel without a ticket?" says one perplexed accountant.

"Watch and you'll see," answers an engineer.

When they board the train the three accountants cram into a restroom and the three engineers cram into another one nearby. The train departs. Shortly afterward, one of the engineers leaves his restroom and walks over to the restroom where the accountants are hiding. He knocks on the door and says, Ticket, please."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ruth Nore --- Featured Artisan

Come in, grab a seat and read our interview with Ruth Nore


the talent behind RuthNoreDesigns

When and how did you first become interested in crafting?

Well that's a good question actually. I guess I have to say I've loved the arts and crafts ever since I was little. My Mother was a pottery major in college and an art teacher so I was constantly influenced by her love of art. I guess I inherited that from her. I honestly am not Happy unless I'm creating something.

How long have you been creating your chosen craft?

I actually dabbled a little with jewelry and beading when I was about 12 years old. My mom found this really neat book for me and bought some of the basics for me to play with. Honestly though I really didn't seriously start making jewelry until about 7 years ago. I kept getting frustrated when I wanted a specific necklace and could find it or afford the look. I kept telling myself that I could do that! So I finally decided I would and I've been addicted since.  Sewing on the other hand I really picked up in high school and I've been sewing ever since.

Royal blue and black Gothic romance cuff
Romantic Gothic Cuff

What are your crafting influences?

I'm influenced by a lot of things. I love colors and texture. I love the feel of fabrics and natural stones. Nature I think would have to be one of my bigger influences. Some of my favorite pieces have always been heavily influenced by nature. Though I have to say that past fashions have always been extremely interesting to me as well.

Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?

My mother's pretty much the only other artist in my family. She's pretty much a dabbler in all things art. She makes pottery, knits, paints, sculpts, draws and so on. But her real passions are pottery and oil painting. So I guess I'm the only jewelry artist and costume designer in my family.

Mint and Chocolate Bracelet
Mint and Chocolate Bracelet

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

Well, I guess pretty much every where I go something that I've made is being displayed. I find it's very important, not to mention enjoyable, to wear what I made. I always wear jewelry that I've made and often I wear an accessory I've sewn as well.

What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?

 My main passion is creating. So I tend to bounce back and forth between different items. Occasionally, and I know every artist experiences this once in a while, I get creativity blocks. I have no inspiration and when I try to force myself to make something I'm never happy with the end product. So during those times I usually move on to something different. I am currently working on hand painted fairy wings. I'm very excited about them and they're turning out awesome! I also make feather hair accessories and hair bows for my 2 year old daughter.

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

One of my favorite pieces that I've created would have to be my Posieden's bride necklace on my etsy account. http://www.etsy.com/listing/37254730/poseidons-bride

Poseidon's Bride

Why did you make that piece?

I had actually had a very strange dream about the ocean. There were mermaids and some kind of event going on. So when I sat down later that day to work on some jewelry pieces I was inspired. I had all these different items that I had no idea what to use for. They just all seemed to click together!

What does it take to create pieces like that?

Well I guess it really takes inspiration firstly. Of course you'd have to have the know how, but all my favorite pieces have been inspired by something and have just seemed to magically fit together.

What is special about your pieces?

 All my items are very special. Each and every one of them is not only hand made by just me, but they're all made with love. I really have to love a piece for it to make the cut. Trust me, I've had to scrap more than a couple through out the years!

Forest green and gold satin flower clips-2

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

I really love jewelry making because it's a very versatile craft. There are so many different potential styles and designs. I can make jewelry that jeans and tshirt material or even jewelry worthy of a bride on her wedding day. I can make simple everyday pieces, to elaborate special occasion only. So I guess love it because it's very versatile and most of all It's something every one can enjoy so matter how young or old. No matter what there taste.

You can find more designs  at RuthNoreDesigns.
Turquoise Howlite drop earrings