Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quote Wednesday 8/31/11

Set goasls for yourself
Work your hardest
To achieve them.

Some won't, but at least
You will have the satisfaction of
Knowing where you were going.

--Beth Daniel

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Featured Artisan --- Majestic Blue

 Step in and get to know the talent behing Majestic Blue, Tina Sanchez.

My business name is Majestic Blue. Under this are two sister sites. I will explain in a minute. I started making jewelry in 2006. Then, I used plastic beads, plated silver and gold, and regular thread. I decided that I really liked making jewelry so I started buying real stones, glass beads, real silver (being sterling) and some gold and copper. My jewelry is one of a kind. Now that's not all that I do. I learned recently how to bead with a loom. Now I'm making up my own designs and making beaded hat bands. I also make Christmas Ornaments with Delica Beads. These items are listed on my website under the name of Majestic Crystal Rose, located on Artfire.


 Now here is the other side of me. In 2008, I suffered from a deep depression that caused me to be placed in the hospital for a couple of days. When I got out, I stopped in at a local quilt shop that had just opened up. I took my first quilting class. I found that I loved it so much that I took my second class and kept going from there. Now my sewn pieces are listed in my sister site Blue Desert Roses, which can be found on Artfire.

Most of my family creates someone whether it is cross stitch, quilting, beading, sewing, ceramics, so on and so forth. I have tried so many different things and I want to learn so much more. The biggest influence in my crafting I would say is my Grandmother. Every time she would come for a visit, I couldn't wait to see what she was making in her "shut in". She always had something new.

Right now I have some pieces in a gallery on the outskirts of Santa Fe, NM. I also do craft shows throughout the year. The time it takes for me to make can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of days. I'm 100% disabled so this is what I have to keep me busy and to earn a little extra spending money. I am always taking custom orders on quilts.

One of my favorite quilts that I made is my "Pride and Joy". This quilt is throw size and she is done in the stained glass method. She took me about 3 weeks to complete.

Isn't she beautiful?

My favorite jewelry or beaded item is probably my hat bands. These are also one of a kind pieces.  This was the second one I have made.

My crafting keeps my depression from getting out of control most of the time. I have to stay busy most days.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ten Steps for Taking Control of Your Schedule

It's Monday Morning, the alarm clock is going off and you groin just thinking about your mile long to do list. Wondering how you are going to accomplish it, much less add the children's school activities to the calendar and the holidays are just around the corner. Sound familiar?

Well take a deep breath; we are going to look at a process that while not necessarily easing the burden of responsibility, at least it will make it more manageable. This is a technique I have personally used or at least steps of it, at various times in my life. While I am not an expert, these practical and simple steps are the ones I have found to be the most useful.

Ten steps for taking control of your schedule:

1.) First take and schedule a 3 hour block of time turn the phone off and eliminate any distractions. These three hours will be well worth it. Now your probably thinking I don't have the time, trust me this is essential. It is also best if you can do it out of the house, coffee shops or a library work great.

2.) Make a list of everything you think you need to get done. At this point just work on the list, don’t worry about time frames. List daily items, weekly items, holidays, birthday, and projects, anything you think of.

3.) Now review your list and organize it. What I mean is figure out how often you need to do the items on your list and make a note. I use the following abbreviations for this step (and will reference them as we move thru the steps), but really anything works as long as you can easily identify it.

D = daily
W = weekly
M = monthly
O = other

4.) Ignore those items you have marked as other. You’re other list are long term items, would like too's, basically non essentials for day to day living. At this point you’re going to look at all of the items you have marked that you need to do daily. Evaluate each one and determine if they can be eliminated or moved to weekly or monthly. Here's a hint the first time I did this I was able to move 1/2 of my daily list off and some of the items didn't hit the weekly, monthly or other list. Leave these we will deal with them later, I star them for easy identification.

5) Repeat step four for those items on your weekly list.

6.) Repeat step four for those items marked monthly on your list.

At this point your list is going to look pretty marked up and unusable, that's ok this is your working list.

7.) Write three new lists. One should be for daily, weekly and monthly. These are going to become your master to do lists. Best practice is to use these lists as a master reference tool. Doing this you will not need to spend time rewriting your to do lists.

8.) Now that you have crossed off the majority of the items on your original list you started with its time to deal with what's left.

9.) Items that land on the other list are usually long term house projects, major car repairs, vacations, classes, etc. What I have found is I rewrite this list evaluating as I go along, put it in my calendar one month from the day I worked on it. Some of the items you may not be able to do this with but I have found that most you can. One month gives you time to get comfortable with using your other master lists, most items are not that pressing on this list and the importance of them can change in a month's time. I have done this step four times this year and am always amazed at what is no longer important in just four short weeks.

10.) Now what is left are the items you eliminated from your daily, weekly, and monthly lists. Keep this list and review it once a day for a week, if it still isn't important then you can eliminate it completely. If needed do it for a second and third week. If it is still important then you have time to schedule it at your convenience.

What I have found in following the above plan is off and on over the years, is that we tend to get so busy surviving that we forget what is truly important in life. We forget to stop and enjoy it. By placing importance on things that really aren't all that important. Believe me though that some things have to be dealt with whether we want to or not. The intent behind sharing this wasn't to give you a free pass to ignore the mundane things that must be dealt with, but as a way to keep life from being so insane that we don't have time to breath. Repeat steps all or partial as often as you need to.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Garden Enjoyment

One of the things many of us forget in our days of gardening is the aspect of garden enjoyment.   We spend so much time working to create a space that we want to enjoy that we forget to stop and enjoy the fruits our labor of love.   Well today that is what I am doing.  Going to enjoy a down day and enjoy my garden.   Hope you all have a great day and we will return to our regulary scheduled garden blogs next month!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Portland Saturday Market 8-27-2011

Sun, sun glorious sun.  We have had glorious weather at Portland Saturday Market this month.  It hasn't slowed vistors down though.  They have been enjoying the amazing variety that is offered.

Fresh flowers at the market
Fresh flowers at the market
.Street musicians are very inventive

Street musicians are very inventive.

Flowers are great anytime of year

Flowers are great anytime of year.  They have a nice selection and they always look great.

Their are even attractions for the kids

Their are even attractions for the kids.  Like the this gentleman creatint balloon hats, swords and animals.

Friday, August 26, 2011

ArtFire -- Handmade Shopping/Selling Venue of Choice

ArtFire is our online selling venue of choice. How did we come to decide this? Well when we decided to sell online, we researched and reviewed and researched some more before we decided on creating our own website or joining one of the handmade markets.

We determined that we did not want to build our own website. That the time it would take to build and maintain our own website would take too much time away from our art. It was an easy decision that we would rather host our website on a handmade market place that maintains 90 % of the technical side of things for us. Simply because we would rather spend our time creating and we haven’t regretted our choice.

Factors that influenced our decision to choose ArtFire over the other selling venues:

1.) Buyers do not have to register before, during or after placing an order.

2.) Security -- Artfire uses 256 bit encryption on any page that requests personal information. Financial data is not stored on Artfire servers; it is processed by PCI Banking companies. This is to provide the highest level of security possible for an excellent shopping experience.

3.) Ease of Use. ArtFire is one of the easiest selling sites I found to use as a buyer.

4.) ArtFire staff spends time in forums. Answering questions, providing insight, and keeping a general feel of what the artisans are looking for.

5.) ArtFire has a transparent policy and is always keeping us updated on fixes, upcoming projects, and site enhancements.

6.) ArtFire is always looking for ways to assist artisan’s success as well as their own. Be it daily collection emails, running twitter accounts, blog improvements, studio improvements. Including creating numerous help guides for site use, blogs, social media camp, photography improvements and SEO.

7.) Community governance and participation is encouraged and listened too.

8.) Buyer suggestions and comments for improvement is recognized as valuable.

9.) It’s the internet, it involves computers, let’s face it that guarantee’s that problems will arise. However, ArtFire staff is quick to work on problems as soon as they are aware of them. Including working on the weekends. This is amazing as ArtFire runs lean and mean as far as support staff, they do an awesome job for us.

10.) As a seller we are ensured that ArtFire makes changes based on a combination of community input, solid research and stats that support the reasoning behind the change. They also take into consideration how the change will impact a buyer’s experience, therefore effecting artisan’s success as a whole.

However, there are things you give up when you decide to let someone else be in charge of your website. You have no control over when the changes occur. Not everyone is going to agree or be happy with all the changes. It is like with anything in life, to gain one thing you have to give up something.

Two things I can tell you for sure though. First, any change we have not been happy about and didn’t think would be an improvement; we have been happily proven wrong. Two, ArtFire continues to surprise and amaze us and we expect that to continue. Combined with our work it is a recipe for success, yes a recipe that constantly needs tweaking, but one for success none the less.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Onyx Gemstones

Onyx semi precious gemstones are a variety of chalcedony quartz. What makes it distinctive and unique are the bands of white or brown that run parallel and straight thru the stones rather than curved.

Onyx and Black Jasper Bracelet

Today when someone hears onyx they automatically think of the black stone, however it comes in other colors. These colors include gray, white and a reddish brown. Reddish brown gemstones with white bands are referred to as sardonyx.

Semi precious gemstones have a long history and have played an integral part in human history. From being used to identify one’s status to being a common form of currency. As such most gemstones have a great deal of myth, history and legend that surround them. Onyx is no different, you will have to determine for yourself if they work or not.

Hammered Silver Links, Carved Bone Goddess and Onyx Gemstone Necklace

It is believed that onyx gemstones will assist someone with challenges in life, especially those caused by a drain of energy. That it prevents the draining away of personal energy and can be used for protection from such calamities.

Others use it to help with grounding and controlling or eliminating excess or unwanted energies. Legend has it that it has been used for wound healing, childbirth and to increase stamina and self-control. Black onyx and red onyx are associated with the base (root, first) chakra.

It is also believed to encourage and support a healthy ego. Believed to be a gemstone that is used in ensuring one’s commitment to their responsibilities. While for others it is believed that wearing the onyx gemstone will sharpen one’s senses.

Onyx Gemstones paired with a deep gray green colored wire Earrings 

Black onyx semi precious gemstones are a rare find. In the marketplace today what is being sold is gray onyx that has been dyed. Unfortunately, because this process is permanent, it is rarely disclosed when sold. Onyx gemstones retain their semi-precious value even when dyed black. This is due solely to the demand and popularity of black onyx.

Agate & Black Onyx Bracelet in Sterling Silver

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quote Wednesday 8/24/11

What this power is I cannot say;
All I know is that it exists
It becomes available only
When a man is in that state of mind
In which he knows exactly what he wants
Is fully determined no t to quit until he finds it.    

---Alexander Graham Bell

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Featured Artisan --- Evarose1900

Enjoy reading our Interview with Evarose1900


When and how did you first become interested in crafting?

My best friend Jeanne has made jewelry with vintage beads for decades. I offered to help her at bead shows. After seeing how much fun I was having, she suggested that I start selling on-line. I love being able to help people create their art (you'd be surprised at some of the things that people use my beads, buttons and sequins for).

How long have you been creating your chosen craft?

I've been selling beads for over 5 years now. I started out at bead shows and on eBay. Currently, I sell on ArtFire and Etsy. I've been lucky to be able to use the same name EVAROSE1900 everywhere.

Vintage Red Open Lucite Loops - elp106
Vintage Red Open Lucite Loops

What are your crafting influences?

This is what I love about selling on-line. I can 'meet' people from around the world while still in my p.j.'s. JAHERSHBERGER (on ArtFire, eBay and Etsy) is my first and most intense influence. She taught be so much of what I know about beads. I'm on a couple teams on Artfire and Etsy and I love hearing and seeing how other people promote their work.

Truth be told, I am not that crafty. My mind and my hands fight and being a Virgo, if I can't do it 'right' I either work it forever or give up. I do however buy handmade, quite a bit. I love lampwork beads and pieces that combine style.

What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?

I have 2 wonderful children. A son that will be 17 next month and an 11 year old daughter. Also we have a Goldendoodle that just turned 1 and didn't get the memo that she's not a puppy anymore. Recently I took some classes and I will be looking for a job that will allow me to continue to be active in my kid’s lives and do my bead thing.

Vintage Japanese Green Plastic Sugar Beads

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

When I re-list items I try to re-evaluate my photos and descriptions. When I first started selling on-line, I had a set-up for photos. I had lights and I would take as many photos as I could stand at a time - I hated it! Over a year ago I decided to start taking photos on or near my desk. I take a few of a bead, with different backgrounds and angles (which I really couldn't change back when I was using a tripod). Then I look at them and throw out the ones I hate. If need be I throw them all out and try again. Weird thing is, not only do I enjoy taking photos now - I swear they are WAYYY better. I still have days when my camera refuses to see the colors that my eye sees, but since I've only taken maybe 5 or so photos before I check them, I don't get so frustrated. It's more of a puzzle now. I have gotten pretty creative at coming up with different ways to take pictures.
Vintage Oval Topaz with Plum Givre Lucite Beads - elp367
Vintage Oval Topaz with Plum Givre Lucite Beads

Why did you make that piece? What does it take to create pieces like that?

I search the world for interesting old beads. My beads are all NOS (New Old Stock) which means that while they are old, they have never been used (compared to the broken necklace that you might have found in Grandmas drawer or at a garage sale.)

What is special about your pieces?

I like to say that my beads, buttons and sequins are from "long ago and far away". They have a hard to describe quality about them that I love. Every so often someone will say to me, but I can get beads at XX chain craft store for much less than your beads. I tell them that if they find what they are looking for elsewhere cheaper, buy them. My beads are not cheap - not in cost or more importantly in quality.

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

Who wouldn't love playing with beads. I love it! I tell you I didn't have time to really work with my beads much for more than a month - it took all I had to simply get orders out and occasionally relist beads. Last Saturday I got up at 8am and worked non-stop until after 2pm with my beads. I didn't eat either breakfast or lunch. I was so happy to have a big block of time that I could play.

My studio name, EVAROSE1900 is very personal to me. When I started selling beads I wanted a name that would reflect the classic styles of the 1900's. I so admire the women that were born at the end of the 1800's and early 1900's. The amount of changes that they lived through is inspiring to me. I was terribly close to my great-grandma Eva Beckwith. She was a small town church lady that saw so many changes during her life. Long before my daughter was born we knew she would be named for my husband's Oma that ran through central Europe with her 2 sons and mother-in-law trying to keep safe through WWII before coming to America and doing whatever was needed for her family. We used one of my grandmother’s middle names for our daughter's middle name. Rose is the name that we didn't use. It's always bothered me, because Rose is such a pretty name. So...Evarose1900 honors all those simple hard working classy women from the last century and all of the wonderful styles that they share with us even now.

Vintage 14mm Woven Blue Plastic Beads - elp115
Vintage 14mm Woven Plastic Beads

Evarose1900 can be found at the following locations:



Facebook  (I give a 10% discount on new facebook friend/fans first orders)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Acronyms and Communication

It seems every industry these days is using acronyms. While this may be great and shorten what has to be written it can get confusing when the same acronyms have different definitions in different industries and even worse when it occurs within the same industry. Industries also seem to generate acronyms peculiar to their specific industry. If you hadn’t figured it out I am no fond of acronyms, I understand they have their place, but really when there are so many of them that you have to research them before you know what someone is talking about they are more of a hindrance than a help.

It is even more of an issue in personal communication.  The acronym phenomenon has been made worse with the invention of texting, as it has seeped into our personal lives not just business. Don’t get me wrong texting is convenient and make quick updates between people a lot easier. However, so much of the personal communication and the art of communication have been lost or is dying. Losing those all important interpersonal communication skills or never learning them in the first place, as is the case with the next generation, is having hidden side effects on us all.

We are losing out on the personal connections that help us thrive as a people. Communities are not being built; we consider work friendships to be real friendships versus acquaintances’ (not always the case but more often than not this is the case). Some people forget to take the time to stop, slow down and remember that face to face conversations are important for healthy relationship's.

Misunderstandings happen more frequently than not because we have become accustomed to relaying everything in 160 characters or less via text and it has spilled over into our spoken communications. So instead of having a full thoughtful conversation, we have become short with our responses. Humans need that personal interaction; it is part of genetic makeup, a survival trait if you will.

“It takes a village to raise a child.”

While I don’t remember the author of this quote it sums up my point perfectly. A group is needed to raise a child; this means communication is taking place constantly. Conversations are happening, listening is happening and is the most important element in communication. Taking the time to listen to what is being said; asking questions to clarify is an important aspect of communication in our society.  Communication is an irreplaceable commodity be personal or business in nature.  One that we should take great care in not only preserving but also utilizing and leave the acronyms and shorthand where they are most effective and user friendly, the business realm when appropriate.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Humorous Garden Delights 8/21/11

One must have a sense of humor to be a gardener!

A farmer purchased an old, run-down, abandoned farm with plans to turn it into a thriving enterprise. The fields were grown over with weeds, the farmhouse was falling apart, and the fences were broken down.

During his first day of work, the town preacher stops by to bless the man's work, saying, "May you and God work together to make this the farm of your dreams!"

A few months later, the preacher stops by again to call on the farmer. Lo and behold, it's a completely different place. The farm house is completely rebuilt and in excellent condition, there is plenty of cattle and other livestock happily munching on feed in well-fenced pens, and the fields are filled with crops planted in neat rows.

"Amazing!" the preacher says. "Look what God and you have accomplished together!" "Yes, reverend," says the farmer, "but remember what the farm was like when God was working it alone!"

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Portland Saturday Market 8/20/11

Portland Saturday Market is home to a wide variety of Artisans.  Meet Betty of Elz Beads, new to the market this year.   She creates interesting lampwork jewelry and offers her beads as a supply item also.

Elz Beads and Jewelry
Elz Beads and Jewelry

Here is Betty at her torch working on her lovely creations.

Betty at her torch creating beads
Betty at her torch creating beads

A glimpse of her jewelry creations.

Elz beads display of completed jewelry
Elz beads display of completed jewelry

Lampwork beads loose and bundled for easy supply purchasing.

Loose lampwork beads for sale
Loose lampwork beads for sale

Betty in her booth at Portland Saturday Market after a long day.

In her booth at the market
In her booth at the market

Earrings using one of her signature beads.

Ruffled lampwork bead earrings
Ruffled lampwork bead earrings

Side view of supply sets with her signature ruffle bead.

Sets of beads for sale
Sets of beads for sale

Betty creates in multiple sizes, styles and colors.

Different beads in matching colors
Different beads in matching colors

Betty can be found down at Portland Saturday Market most every weekend.  You can also find her at  or email her at

Friday, August 19, 2011

Top 5 things to do when Dealing with Change

The last couple of weeks have involved a lot of change. Both personal and business changes have occurred, some I am ok with some I am definitely not ok with. But change is a fact of life and even more so when running your own business.

In business change can come about due to computer upgrades, supplier changes, supply and demand changes, the list could go on and on. While some change can be planned for some cannot. Yet regardless of which you are dealing with, it must be dealt with. In business it is best if dealt with in a professional manner that doesn’t cause undue stress.

It is the changes that you can’t plan for that tends to cause the most stress and strife in one’s life. Here are a few tips and tricks I have picked up along the way that I have found to deal with it in business. They allow for one to keep their stress level down and still allow one to remain professional.

Top 5 things to do when Dealing with Change Beyond your Control:

1.) When dealing with business entities that require change that is out of your control. Approach it from an inquiring mind set. Asking questions and then making decisions from there.

2.) Walk away when the changes start overwhelming you. Go do something fun and don’t think about it for awhile. Come back to it with a clear mind and a different head space.

3.) If it is a big change from an outside source, break it down into small pieces and deal with it a bit at a time. We all want to do it all and have it done now, but that is really unrealistic when dealing with most change. And doesn’t allow you to continue with what the items you need to continue doing daily for your business.

4.) Review your goals! Maybe this change is occurring to show you that you have gotten off track or need to go in a different direction.

5.) Take a deep breath and remember that this too shall pass!

While not an exhaustive list, these are the ones I have found to be most helpful.
What ways do you have to deal with unexpected and stressful change?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bronzite Gemstone

Bronzite gemstone is composed of a magnesium silicate compound and iron. Classified as part of the pyroxene family, and is mainly mineral. It is a dark stone and has a bronze sub metallic luster to it. It is a lovely stone that can create dramatic decorative pieces.

It is believed that Ancient Romans ground bronzite as an intern elixir to combat confusion and protect against mental illness. Due to the iron and bronze content of this stone ingesting it seems like a really, really bad idea to me, just my personal opinion.

Bronzite Viking Knit Necklace Choker

Folklore attributes with the ability to increase self esteem and inspire courtesy, acceptance and help. While at the same time boosting one’s self confidence and eliminating doubt and indecision. When feeling overwhelmed or powerless wear Bronzite as myth suggests it will ground and protect while restoring inner harmony and balance.

Lore from ancient cultures believed wearing bronzite would give you the courage of a thousand tigers. I have heard this for years, but have never been able to track down which cultures history this piece of lore came from.

Bronzite Stone and Viking Knit Woven in Deep Purple Wire Bracelet

In fact there is very little that I could find written  or otherwise about the Bronzite gemstone. All I know is, it is absolutely gorgeous if you are looking for a dramatic piece of art of jewelry.

***Medicinal information provided is for entertainment only. It is not meant as medical advice; if you are ill seek out professional medical advice.

Copyright 2011, Entwined Vines Jewelry


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Quote Wednesday 8/17/11

The rung of a ladder
 was never meant to rest upon,
but only to hold a man’s foot
long enough to enable him
to put the other somewhat higher.  

–T.H. Huxley 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Featured Artisan --- Togs4Tots

Our Interview with Barbara  owner of  Togs4tots

How long have you been creating your chosen craft?

I have been involved with some type craft since I was in Junior High School.

What are your crafting influences?

My Mother was a seamstress and did beautiful work so I guess it just come natural for me to do sewing.

Purple and Gold Baby Toddler Crochet Cowboy Boots-With Gift Box-handmade custom boutique newborn girl-LSU colors

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

I have owned and operated a brick and mortar lingerie and children’s clothing shop.

I also became a ceramic and porcelain doll teacher and owned and operated my own ceramic and porcelain doll shop.

Crochet Handmade Girls Green Hat-handmade, custom boutique newborn -infant toddler

I did ceramics and went to craft shoes for many years until ceramics were not so popular anymore.

In 1999 I sold all of my molds and kilns and decided to try oil painting which I did for a few years. That is when I got started selling online.

After Ebay went so high on their fees I quit selling paintings. In 2004 I decided to start doing my sewing again. I have been sewing since in my Junior High days. I used to make my school clothes.

Baby Shoes-Cowboy Boots White and Rose--With Gift Box-Handmade-- custom boutique newborn boy girl-infant toddler
Barbara can also be found:

Copyright 2011, EntwinedVinesJewelry, Pictures are property of Togs4Tots.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Two Dozen Witticisms

Some days ironic wit fits the bill,  here are two dozen witticisms I have collected over the years.

Two Dozen Witticisms

-I started out with nothing...I still have most of it.

-Some days you're the dog, some days the hydrant.

-I finally got my head together, now my body is falling apart.

-Funny, I don't remember being absent minded.

-If all is not lost, where is it?

-It is easier to get older than it is to get wiser.

-If at first you do succeed, try not to look too astonished.

-The first rule of holes: If you are in one, stop digging.

-I went to school to become a wit, only got halfway through.

-It was all so different before everything changed.

-Nostalgia isn't what is used to be.

-Old programmers never die. They just terminate and stay resident.

-A day without sunshine is like a day in Seattle.

-I wish the buck stopped here. I could use a few.

-It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.

-Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip round the sun.

-The only time the world beats a path to your door is if you're in the bathroom.

-If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

-Lead me not into temptation (I can find the way myself).

-If you're living on the edge, make sure you're wearing your seat belt.

-An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.

-It's not hard to meet expenses...they're everywhere.

-Jury: Twelve people who determine which client has the better attorney.

-Old people shouldn't eat health foods. They need all the preservatives they can get.

Copyright 2011, EntwinedVinesJewelry

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Top 5 Survival Tips for the Summer Gardener

We all know the summer months are difficult on your garden, but do not forget about taking care of yourself in your zeal to keep the garden alive. If we succumb to the heat are garden will suffer.

Top 5 Survival Tips for the Summer Gardener

1.) Your garden time. Be realistic with how much time you have available. Then look at the available time and is it a reasonable time for you to be working in the garden? If the majority of your free time is during the hottest part of the day, that isn’t a reasonable time to garden.

2.) Stay hydrated. It is too easy to get caught up in what you are doing and forget to drink fluids while working out in the garden. Even early in the morning when it is fairly cool, it is important. What works for me is I set a timer and every time it goes off, regardless of what I am in the middle of I stop and drink a full glass of water.

3.) No Guilt. Guilt over plants that die or weeds that don’t get pulled or because someone else doesn’t like how you have chosen to garden, let it go. It is your garden, your enjoyment and it should reflect both.

4.) Sun Protection. There is nothing worse than a sunburn to slow down your work in the garden. Be it a hat or sun screen, a long sleeve shirt to protect yourself from a sunburn. Having made this mistake I can tell you that if you burn badly enough, it will bring all gardening to a halt until you heal, which is no fun at all.

5.) The most important thing to remember during the summer months is to schedule time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. It doesn’t matter what is left, gardening is generally done for enjoyment, if you don’t stop and enjoy the progress you have made, and you will stop enjoying the gardening. Where’s the fun in that?

Do you have any gardening tips to add?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Portland Saturday Market 8/13/11

Portland Saturday Market has so much to offer. One of the vendors we have found and occasionally indulge in is Wild Sweets Chocolate Factory. Their chocolate creations are divine, ranging from milk chocolate to dark chocolate and everything in between.

Wild Sweets Chocolate Factory

Linda is the owner of Wild Sweets Chocolate Factory
Linda is the owner of Wild Sweets Chocolate Factory

You can find Linda manning her booth almost every Saturday and Sunday.

Chocolate display
Chocolate display

During the summer they keep their chocolate in insulated coolers to preserve the integrity of the chocolate.

Fudge choices
Fudge choices

Fudge and Carmel, need I say more?
Carmels and bars
Carmels and bars

Varying package sizes are available, as well as variety packs.

Fruit and chocolate sticks
Fruit and chocolate sticks

Multiple varieties of fruit sticks in both milk and dark chocolate.

Brittle, rocky road, and chocolates
Brittle, rocky road, and chocolates

Apricot's your choice of dark, milk, or white chocolate.  Toffee that is oh so good, hazelnut bark in white chocolate, it is also available in milk chocolate, but goes quick.   An assortment of chocolate covered nuts.
Wild Sweets Chocolate does not have an online presence and to my knowledge isn't available anywhere else and can only be found at Portland Saturday Market.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Current Economy and the 3 C's

The week has not started out well for the financial state of the United States as the Dow Jones plummeted 634 points, on the first day of open trade after the announcement of the nations credit rating has been down graded over the weekend. What does this mean for small business's like us? We don't know, no one does.

Oh, yes the so called experts are making predictions and saying what it will mean and how it will effect us. The financial experts are saying save your money, pay off your bills. While I agree with the pay off your bills advice, history proves that our economy will not rebound until people start purchasing again. The job market will not recover without a return of citizens being able to afford goods and services.

If we want the Unites States economy to recover, there are three major things that need to happen:

1.) Companies need to bring jobs back to the United States! The influx of jobs from this move alone will have the highest impact on our economic recovery.

2.) Consumers making the choice to spend their money by choosing to buy products made in the U.S.A., will assist in creating more jobs here at home. This one is hard as everyone is trying to make ends meet these days. Yet, we have forgotten the old adage that we have to take care of ourselves before we can help others. Yes, I am applying that adage nationally as it is going to take everyone doing their part for us to recover from this economic crisis. While it may pinch already strapped pocket books, if we want our economy to recover this is one way to assist.

3.) Capital needs to be pumped into our economic system, however not in the form of bail outs or tax breaks for business's. Pump Capital into the system like history has shown to be successful in the past. Where real jobs were created by the government not just on paper. By putting the money back in the hands of the people, in the form of jobs, our economy will then recover and only then. We have never been nor should we aspire to be a socialist country.

Well I have indulged a bit and spouted off this morning. But in reality, we can only do what we can and the rest will work itself out one way or another as it always does.

As far as Entwined Vines Jewelry is concerned, no worries, we are committed to continuing in the creation of quality, mostly affordable one of a kind creations. We don't and won't skimp on materials or design just because the money mongers of wall street are in a panic.

What are you're thoughts on the current economic climate of the United States and the rest of the world?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gemstone Information Resources

While I know a great deal about gemstone's, having learned it as a kid from family that were into lapidary, there are times additional resources need to be tapped.  Practical knowledge is great for simple everyday use, but I have been finding since we started Entwined Vines Jewelry that additional information beyond the practical is necessary to meet FTC guidelines.

The best source of information and where I spend a great deal of time is the local lapidary shops.  Fortunately, living in the Pacific Northwest we have several, the largest being Ed's House of Gems.
Don't discount the smaller places though, they tend to specialize and the owners tend to be the one doing the rock hounding.  The only disadvantage with the small lapidary shops that I have found is they are not always open at convenient times.

Books are another great source of information on rocks, minerals, and gemstones.  Before buying books at random, sit down and decide what it is you are looking for in  a book.  Stones books can be about healing, home placement, and mineral content to name a few.  You can spend lot of money before you find the perfect book, so I also recommend seeing what is available at  your local library and perusing as many as you can before purchasing.

Here are a few titles from my collection:

1.) Crystals by Jennie Harding

2.) Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic by Scott Cunningham

3.) The Illustrated Guide to Crystals by Judy Hall

4.) The Metaphysical Book of Gems & Crystals by Florence Megemont

Lapidary or rock clubs are another great source when tyring to find or identify stones.  While not all clubs are listed on the Gem and Lapidary Clubs website, it is definitely a good place to start.   To find ones near you that are not listed check with your local community center.

Another great source of information are institutes and associations, here are a few to get you  started.  While most of these appear to only deal with diamonds that usually isn't the case and if they can't help you they will know who can.  I wonder through them occasionally, yet have not had the need to contact them myself.

Gemological Institute of America

International Gemological Institute

American Gem Society

Publications and journals can become an expensive habit, but oh so useful.
Gems & Gemology
Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist -- found this by accident, has a lot of information and recommends books and other source sites.

While these are sites and publications I have used in the past, their accuracy is not something I can guarantee.  Each time I am doing research I start from the beginning as if I don't know where to look.  I have found that researching as if I know nothing leads me to the information I am looking for better than researching with a preconceived notion and I spend to much time in the lapidary shops.

Do you have any suggestions to add?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quote Wednesday 8/10/11

If you make the unconditional commitment
    To reach your most important goals,
If the strength of your decision is sufficient,
You will find the way and the power to
Achieve your goals.   

--- Bob Conklin

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Featured Artisan -- TracysDesigns1

This is Tracy from TracysDesigns1 stopping in to say "Hello".

When and how did you first become interested in crafting?

I'd have to say I first became interested in crocheting around the age of four. My grandmother (on my dad's side) was always working on at least one crocheting project, plus decorating her house with her finished products. In her closet was totes full of colorful skeins of yarn. It didn't take long before I was begging her to teach me.

My grandma (mom's side) was always sewing/creating things, especially costumes and since she took care of me while mom and dad were at work, I also picked up a love for sewing at a very young age.
6 to 12 Month Gray Sock Monkey Hat Crochet Handmade Photo Prop

How long have you been creating your chosen craft?

I started learning to crochet at age five, when someone suggested to my grandmother to sit across from me to teach me (I'm left handed). That worked and 25+ years later I still haven't put the crochet hook down!

My mom and grandma bought me my own used sewing machine when I was around approx. 7 or 8 yrs old, but I was already hand stitching before then.

What are your crafting influences?

My grandmothers were my biggest influences. As a child I loved watching them take a skein of yarn or a yard of fabric and create something beautiful with it.

Matching Isabella Hats Child & Doll clothes fits 18 American Girl

Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?

Crocheting and sewing seemed to skip a generation in my family. It jumped from my grandmothers to me.

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

As a teenager some of my sewing projects from my sewing classes were on display at my High School along with fellow classmates.

As an adult, I have done many local craft shows and also sell at a local boutique.

Blue Poodle Skirt 18 doll clothes fits American Girl Handmade
What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?

Spending time with my family is very important to me. I also love to read.

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

Hmmm.... it's hard to pick a favorite. But if I had to choose, I think I would have to say it's my sock monkey hats. It's fun to watch the face appear. It almost feels like they have a "personality" all their own. You can't help but smile when you look at them!

Green crochet Sock Monkey hat fits approx 3 to 6 Months Handmade
Why did you make that piece?

When my brother and his wife found out they were having their first child, I was excited and wanted to make the baby something. Since she was due in the winter, I decide on a hat! I had so much fun making it, that I started designing more!

What does it take to create pieces like that?

Mostly time. (Anyone know how to get more than 24 hours into a day!)

What is special about your pieces?

They are well made using quality yarns and fabrics, and they bring a smile to kids and adults faces.

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

Even though running my own business is a lot of work, it's worth it seeing skeins of yarn or yards of fabric turn into useful, fun, creative works of art under my hands!

3 to 6 Month Isabella Pink Green Crochet beanie Hat Handmade

Monday, August 8, 2011

August Birthstone's

If your birthday happens in August, your birthstone is the peridot gemstone, according to the modern birthstone list. Peridot derives its name from the Arabic word “faridat” which translated means gem. This seems appropriate to me as peridot is a lovely and vibrant yellow green gem that captures a glimpse of nature in August.

Several stories surround the creation of peridot. One such story comes from Hawaii, where they believe the peridot are tears shed by Pele, the volcano goddess.

Older birthstone lists include cultural lists, which are generally based on region. Polish and Arabic lists reflect Sardonyx. Additionally it is carnelian that is listed as the birthstone on the Hebrew, Italian and roman birthstone lists. While the list for Hindu reflects ruby as the birthstone for August.

Ayurvedic is a birthstone list that can be traced back to 1500 b.c.. This birthstone list has its orgins in the beliefs of Indian medicine. For August this list shows Sapphire as the birthstone.

The Mystical birthstone list indicates Diamond as the birthstone for August.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Garden Delights 8/7/11

"A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows."

- Doug Larson

"I have no plants in my house. They won't live for me. Some of them don't even wait to die, they commit suicide."

- Jerry Seinfeld

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Portland Saturday Market 8/6/11

And some weekends at Portland Saturday Market, the best fun is people watching...

Vendor interacting with a potential customer before opening
Vendor interacting with a potential customer before opening.

Summer day at the market
Summer day at the market

Tina weaving and watching the crowd
Tina weaving and watching the crowd

People watching
People watching

Edited 8/7/11to fix link

Friday, August 5, 2011

Artisan's and Tutorials

You may think it odd that Artisan's who are selling their creations would create and share tutorials and that it would be counter productive to their business goals.  Really it isn't!   Here at Entwined Vines Jewelry we enjoy sharing what we know and have learned over the years.  Every one has to learn from someone somewhere, we did, experimentation will only teach you so much.  In addition it also allows potential customers, especially those we are unable to meet us person, to observe us creating our pieces, even if it is only a small part.

There are three main of tutorials you can do with a few simple steps.

1.)  Still pictures inserted between text instructions.   Such as we have done with our Viking Knit tutorials.

How to make Viking Knit part 1

How to make Viking Knit part 2

2.) Straight text instruction, sometimes with links.  This is my least favorite type of instruction, but has its place and can be very useful if done right.

Making Basic Ear Wires

3.)  Video Tutorial's -- this is the first one we have tried, we used YouTube to publish it.
Let us know what you think.

Swan Style Clasp Tutorial

Let us know what you think?  Is there anything in particular that you have been interested in finding instructions on?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jade Gemstones

Jade is a gemstone I have always had and infinity for. While it is only recently that I learned there are two distinct types of stones that are referred to as Jade. I am not alone , in fact it wasn’t until the 19th century that a French mineralogist determined that there were two different minerals creating two distinct gemstones.

While metamorphic rocks are the basis for both stones it is the difference in the silicate minerals within each stone that creates two types of jade. One mineral is Nephrite, while the other mineral is Jadeite. It is the iron content within the stones that create the green color of the stones. The darker the green the higher the iron content, as you can image this leaves jade open to many hues. Colors can also include white, mottled green and white, yellow, pink, purple and black in natural jade stones.

Most people associate and think of jade as only being deep green in color. This is understandable as the most valuable form of jade is mined in Myanmar and is known as imperial jade. Due to this misconception jadeite draws a higher price and is thought to be true jade, however color doesn’t play a part except in buyer perception. Nephrite is no less of a jade than jadeite. The reason jadeite draws a higher price is because there are only 12 known mines to exist in the world, making it very rare indeed. The rarer a gemstone is the more valuable it is.

Dark Green Jade and Peridot Bracelet

Imperial jade had been used in China for centuries. Not just as a decorative gemstone, but also in the form of tools and currency. One of the most popular types of jade aside from jewelry is jade carvings, usually in the form of animals.

However, China is not the only country jade has played a part in history. Countries include Korea, New Zealand and Guatemala to name only a few. Jade is more than just a decorative gemstone, it has been found on archeological dig sites in the form of tools, bowls, and knives and used as currency in parts of the world.

There is a current debate about the New Canadian Jade that is on the market. From the calls I have made and the research I have done, it is a true jade. It is composed of metamorphic rock and contains the silicate mineral Nephrite.

Jade Semi Precious Gemstones and White Shell Bead Necklace

Jade classification will drive you nuts if you let it. Enjoy the stone, do your research and if you want the more expensive jadeite seek out a reputable dealer. A reputable dealer will be able to tell the difference between the two types of jade and will help you make the best selection.