Friday, September 30, 2011

Circles and Swirls in Art -- Collection Friday!

Swirls and circles can be used to create such interesting artistic pieces.

Edited 10/3/11 to fix broken coding, 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Philosophy Wednesday 9/28/11

I have always found over the years the following quotes to be very thought provoking.   They make one stop, think and questons the philosopy behind them and how they relate to everyday life. 

*To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.

*Find something you love to do and you'll never have to work a day in your life.

*If someone seeks advice, give them direction, not correction.

*Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

*The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

*Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.

*Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.

*You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.

*When an affliction happens to you, you either let it defeat you, or you defeat it.

*Even a fool knows you can't reach the stars, but that doesn't stop a wise man from trying.

Currently I am working on making the first two a reality in my life, making the last one a truth that I am living.

What are you doing today to pursue a dream you have?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Featured Artisan --- Sparetire Design

Step in and get to know the talent behind Sparetire Design.


When and how did you first become interested in crafting?

I can remember sitting at the kitchen table when I was five surrounded by mountains of crayons and paper. I could whittle away a day simply creating shapes, lines and rubbing textures onto the page. I was always creating something out of nothing; there is an immense satisfaction in being able to create a different form and function from something ordinary or mundane. My crafting and art sensibilities were furthered with art classes in high school and my education furthered when I choose to major in fine arts at The School of Art and Design at Alfred University.

How long have you been creating your chosen craft?

I have been active in graphic design for the past 10 years or so. During that time I have created stationery solutions for family and friends and just this past year decided to offer my stationery design service to everyone.

What are your crafting influences?

This is a complex question! I can't say I have a specific influence; I am influenced by so many different facets of life, people and events. I can more aptly tell you what my inspirations are: music, nature, and specifically for stationery, usually the client themselves.

Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?

Nope, just me.

Custom Party Invitations Any Event

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

I have had the privilege to have had my paintings and drawings displayed in art shows through the years. I recently was asked to have my stationery displayed in a local photographer’s shop, which I am thrilled about. I am in the process of getting this together. (

What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?

I am a mother of three beautiful and active children. So most of the time I am playing with them, fascinated by their constant energy and endless imagination. When I have a few moments to myself you can find me in the garden, behind a good book, or looking for some new musicians to listen too.

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

I think I would have a hard time deciding between two. The first is a wedding invitation that has a watercolor side with a hand drawn botanical branch and leaf knocked out.

Watercolor Botanical Wedding Invitation in Pocketfold Enclosure

My second favorite would be the rustic and vintage mash up of a damask scroll and peacock design.

Vintage Damask and Peacock Wedding Invitation

Why did you make that piece?

My second favorite was created out of frustration actually! I was getting bored with the same old damask and scroll designs and the surge of peacock designs into the stationery world. After playing around with some different ideas I created a unique mash up. The bold damask scroll was tamed by a vintage, rough texture and the hand drawn peacock eyes and feather lightly layered over the bold scrolls. The result was a vintage, romantic and rustic feeling invitation.

What does it take to create pieces like that?

All I needed for this piece was some hand drawn items (in this case the peacock eyes and feathers), I had a digital damask scroll design already. I created a unique paper texture using Photoshop. Then it really just took some time and patience to play around with the pieces and layout until I was satisfied with the result.

What is special about your pieces?

I feel my pieces are special because they aren't the run of the mill designs. Many of my designs are hand drawn and then digitized so I can change the color and alter them per the client’s request. All of my designs are well thought out and expertly laid out. My pieces are customizable, the colors, fonts and the layout to an extent are all different per client.

Bold and Fun Note Cards

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

I love creating stationery. I think it originates from the excitement you have when you receive a personal note or invitation in the mail. This medium allows me to get some of my creative energy out without taking too much time away from my children.

You can find more of her unique designs at :

Artfire Studio




Monday, September 26, 2011

Why Do You Give Gifts?

Why do you partake in gift giving, it is a really good question to think about and find the root of why you personally give gifts.

For me it is a question I started pondering last year about this time and the answer isn’t as easy as one would think, especially not for me. You see I like to give gifts, but admittedly am a bit neurotic about it. Too many times have I been the recipient of the “what were they thinking” or “really, who were they actually shopping for”.

This has turned me into the gift shopper, who will shop and shop until the perfect gift is found. Like this year, for example, I started a custom order back on the first Saturday in August. A simple item really, except first we had to change the length on the order because it was originally ordered in too long of a length. Right now the perfect color combination is what is being worked on, because it has to be perfect. Yes, sad to admit to myself much less say I am that shopper.

My theory is and has always been, if I am going to give gifts then they should be something the person actually wants, will use, or needs. Admittedly it does make gift giving a bit more challenging. But I had an epiphany last year as I sat down to plan out my holidays. The realization that I was doing gifts out of the feeling of obligation, not because I wanted to, it was a rather startling conclusion.

It isn’t that I don’t care about the people I am buying gifts for; it is the sense of expectation from the gift recipient that their gift should be better or larger than last year’s. Not a happy realization for me as I do truly enjoy giving gifts, but my epiphany prompted changes in my views and how I am approaching my gift giving.

First off while I haven’t given up holiday gift giving, I have stopped gift giving at birthday’s this year. Let me say it has not been well received. The nieces and nephews were not pleased. Now, I will take partial responsibility here, I didn’t handle the notification well. Had I handled it differently it might have been received better. However, I am glad I made the choice to stop giving regular yearly birthday gifts. Instead they get time, which in my book is the most important thing.

As far as the holiday gift giving goes, for me that is, at some point I will be giving up the annual tradition, for a short time anyway. Keeping up with the joneses in gift giving is not why I like to give gifts. Will it be this year? NO. It may not even be next year, mostly because I learned a lesson and will handle it differently than I did with the birthdays. And at some point I will return to giving gifts both at the holidays and on birthdays, but that is only going to happen when the joy of gift giving returns for me.

What are your thoughts on giving up the tradition, expectation, and obligation of gift giving?

edited post 10/3/11

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall Gardening

Fall has arrived the leaves are turning, the last of the summer garden crops are done and for most the garden is being put to rest till spring. However for some the gardening continues with late fall crops and for those lucky enough to have a green house continues into winter.

I bemoan the fact that once again my garden is not set up for fall crops or even attempting winter crops this year. But it will happen eventually. In the meantime this is the time of year I start dreaming of what I want to do in the spring.

Starting with collecting seed catalogs, pulling out books to browse, surfing the Internet and dreaming about what my ideal garden would look like. Today I thought I would share some of my favorite resources for inspiration, ideas and pure day dreaming.

Books solely for day dreaming:

Truly Tiny Gardens by Thomasina Tarling (if you want a decorative spot if might be practical)

Gardening with Herbs by Emelie Tolley and Chris Mead

Books that are a cross between practical and best for solely day dreaming:

The Art of the Kitchen Garden by Jan & Michael Gertley

The Herb Garden by Malcolm Hillier

Books that I reference constantly, better known as my working books:

Garden Herbs by The Gardeners Handbook, it is great for quick reference

The Budget Gardener by Maureen Gilmer

Great Garden Formulas by Joan Benjamin and Deborah L. Martin

Sunset Western Garden Book


You would think in the tech age I would have some favorites, however so far I do not. I will occasionally spend an afternoon surfing through blogs. Truly though I would rather wander down to the local garden centers and spend an afternoon talking with the master gardeners.  One day I will probably find some favorite garden blogs to track and repeatedly visit, maybe.

Seed/bulb Catalogs – there is no such thing as too many, but here are a few to get you started:

Burpee Seed Catalog

Dutch Gardens Flowers

Gurney's Seed & Nursery

Jung Seeds and Plants

Territorial Seed Company   -- my absolute favorite

So don't despair the changing of the seasons is a good thing.  Especially since it will allow us time to day dream about what our gardens would look like in a perfect world.
edited 10/3/11 to fix a link that was directing to an incorrect page.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Portland Saturday Market 9-24-11

Fall is here, yeah!  Ok, fall is one of my favorite times of year and yesterday was the fall equinox, the official first day of fall.   However, it isn't slowing us down one bit at Portland Saturday Market.  We are open both Saturday and Sunday through December 24th and for those that don't know, we are open the entire week before Christmas for that last minute gift we all seem to need.

Make this year the time you choose to create a new tradition by choosing to do a handmade holiday season this year.  Portland Saturday Market artisan's offer a wide selection to help you with all of your gift giving needs all in one location.

A visual sampling of the different artistic creations you can find down at Portland Saturday Market.  
Thread and ribbon wall hangings.
Thread and ribbon wall hangings.
Marble, gemstones, Viking knit, and other jewelry.
Marble, gemstones, Viking knit, and other jewelry.

Wooden flutes for the music lover
Wooden flutes for the music lover
Cat creations, cute and unusual designs.
Cat creations, cute and unusual designs.

Leaf shaped pottery platters
Leaf shaped pottery platters
Vibrant colored chain maille
Vibrant colored chain maille

Tye die t-shirts, skirts, hoodies and other garments.
Tye die t-shirts, skirts, hoodies and other garments.
Stained glass will brighten up any window
Stained glass will brighten up any window.

Live bonsai trees for sale
Live bonsai trees for sale.
Plaques in different shapes and sizes.
Plaques in different shapes and sizes.

Embellished tea balls
Embellished tea balls
Handmade soap and shea butter
Handmade soap and shea butter

Hand torched glass bottles with corks.
Hand torched glass bottles with corks.
Chocolate handmade with nuts and caramel
Chocolate handmade with nuts and caramel

Unique records and designs
Unique records and designs

It's never to early for Christmas Gift shopping!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Whimsical Creature Creations -- Collection Friday!

Some days a picture says it all.  As fall comes to an end spend a bit of time day dreaming about the lazy days of summer.   Where whimsical creatures were a part of your everyday play...

Edited 10/3/11 to correct error in collection coding, so it would show properly.