Saturday, March 31, 2012

Portland Saturday Market 3-31-12

Portland Saturday Market is open regardless of weather.  Whether it is rain, shine, wind, hail or snow vendors are down at the market.  While not all vendors are there every weekend with over 400 vendors, between reserved members and fill in list, there is always something new to see.  Keeping the market fresh and constantly offering new choices for shoppsers.

Varying weather and crowds keep things interesting.
Varying weather and crowds keep things interesting.
As often as vendors are at the Portland Saturday Market, we see a lot of different crowds and weather.

Crowd observing a vendor booth
Crowd observing a vendor booth
We always find it fascinating to see how other vendors have created their signage and changed up their booth set up.  The crowds reaction is always interesting for us to observe as well.

Vendor taking a break and trying to keep warm
Vendor taking a break and trying to keep warm
Sometimes, though we get overwhelmed and just need to take a break from our booths and the crowds.

Restroom sign at Portland Saturday Market
Restroom sign at Portland Saturday Market
The above sign has been at the market since we started. However, we actually had a slow moment and read the sign and it struck us as humorous. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Staying the Course

The last couple of weeks have definitely presented challenges to staying the course in following our goals, dreams and wants and it has really got me to thinking about how people deal with those challenges.  Some stay the course, some give up entirely, some hit the pause button and resolve the issue as quickly as possible with as little disruption as possible.   Tina and I (Tammy) both have different methods of dealing with the challenges life presents us with.   Yet, as I have thought about this for a while one or two tools seem to remain constant, while others vary depending on the situation.  

One of the many tools, I use to remind myself of the want or desire, depending on your vocabulary preference, to stay on course, to work that extra hour when I would rather be doing something else is a quote that I have posted on my dream and goal wall.   

"Desire is the key to motivation,
but it's the determination and commitment
to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal---
a commitment to excellence
that will enable you to attain the success you seek."

                                                      By Mario Andretti

I have had this quote for years, however just recently reposted it so I see it daily.  Following our goals and dreams no matter how big or small definitely requires a vision, desire, commitment, determination and unrelenting pursuit.   Mario Andretti really summed this up nicely in a very clear concise manner.

Coming to a close on a very challenging couple of weeks I have been reaching deep to remain determined, because I know that what's around the next bend in life will be worth it.

What tools do you use to keep yourself on track in pursuit of reaching your goals and dreams?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wooden Puzzles on ArtFire

It always amazes me the skill of those who work with wood and wooden puzzles are no exception.  The detail is amazing and how the look varies depending on the type of wood used is always enthralling.  Puzzle thrill and delight at any age, be they your or old. 

Artisans on Artfire are so very talented, look at these wonderful creations I found.

Dragon Wooden Puzzle


Scrollsawn Lion Wooden Puzzle

Eagle Catching Fish Puzzle

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Portland Saturday Market 3-24-12

In addition to the fabulous offerings at Portland Saturday Market, we are located in a spot that offers additional activities as well.

The fountain is located by the Max train
The fountain is located by the Max train
The fountain is located by the Max train and indicates the start of Portland Saturday Market from that direction.  It is a great place to stop and sit for a bit.   While there you are likely to see street musicians, performers, and an unlimited variety of people wandering through.

Dormant fountain
Dormant fountain with people walking in it.
Actually there are two different fountains that can be found at the market.  The one above is off, hence you see people sitting and walking through the area where the water usually is.  It tends to be off in early spring and fall.  During the summer on hot days you can see children racing through the water to cool off.

Park entrance at the market
Park entrance at the market
This is one of two entrance's into the market directly from the parks.  We have parks on both sides of, creating a safe and great place for children to burn off that excessive energy they seem to have in abundance.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lampwork Beginings

Glass beads being created in the flame of the torch.
Creating glass beads in the flame of the torch.
Lampwork glass beads are a delight to create with.  When we started this venture we had no idea we would become so enamored with the hand torched lampwork glass to create our own. 

 It was one of those items we purchased from other artisans.  Well it turns out that has not met with our creative needs and are currently working our way up to creating our own pieces to incorporate into our designs.  

With any new technique there is a learning curve and lampwork is no different.  Not to mention that we have set high standards for any of the pieces that will be used in our final designs.  Which means that currently we have very few pieces with our own lampwork in them and will have that cross over for several months still.  That's ok, we know that with our self imposed requirements the  pieces will be extraordinary in the end.

So what is lampwork?  It is a technique in which you use a torch to melt glass rods and form the desired shape and look you want.  Once  that is complete they are then hardened by firing them in a kiln. In a previous blog we shared some of the history of lampwork, today we are going to cover some of the basics of getting started.

Rods of glass in progress of being used
Rods of glass in progress of being used
Glass, glass and more glass!!!

Ok, glass is essential and there are multiple types.  One of the things we have had to learn is which glass we prefer, which glass types can be combined and which can't.  We have learned and are still experimenting with the rod size and which works best for the technique we are currently working on. 

Adjusting the flame to achieve the look we want
Adjusting the flame.

Here, one of us is adjusting the flame on the torch.  It is not showing in the picture, however right there on the right hand side is the fire extinguisher.  While we haven't had an issue, we are ever vigilant and prepared.

Frit, glass, paddles and other assorted tools.
Frit, glass, paddles and other assorted tools.
On the left is a piece of graphite and a graphite paddle.  The graphite allows us to manipulate the glass outside of the flame without the glass adhering to the tool.  The glass rod holder holds cleaned glass ready to work with as well as rods to cool with completed creations we are not ready to place directly in the kiln.

Fire retardant furnace board and tools
Fire retardant furnace board and tools  
More of our work space set up.  In the bottom right hand corner our the prepped rods, ready to have creations added to them.  They are prepped with bead release that has to completely dry before being worked with.  Usually we prep these the night before.

As you can see from this brief glimpse there are a lot of tools, materials and time that goes into creating lampwork glass pieces.  We enjoy it and look forward to incorporating our own pieces into our designs.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring is Here!

Spring is here!  Well that is the theory anyway.  Spring in the Pacific Northwest is never what one would call a smooth transition.  We can go from sunny with a hint of  warmth to bone chilling cold not stop downpours in the blink of an eye.  This year mother nature has decided to include late season snow fall into the mix as well.  Just yesterday, we awoke to falling snow.  We wouldn't trade it for anything, can't think of a place we would rather live.

Yet, right now we are dreaming of spring and time in the garden.  To get tide us over till we can spend as much time as we want outside we wandered through Artfire to see what inspirations of spring we could find...

We watch with baited breath to see if the daffodils really are peaking through, if we should trust the 10 day forecast and actually start planting those vegetables, dream of barbeque's on the back deck, sigh....
Yes, we are impatient for true spring and nicer weather....

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Portland Saturday Market 3-17-12

Portland Saturday Market is a great place to visit.  Especially if like us, you enjoy people watching.  It is one of the few places in Portland where everyone from all walks of life mingle regardless of what there typical haunts are.   The diversity you can find not only in artistic wares, but also in the people.  From artisans, to locals, to visitors from a couple hours away to visitors who have travelled half way around the world. 

Random crowd shot on the outskirt of the market

Random crowd shot on the outskirt of the market.

It is fun watching people walking and looking at artisans booths as they pass.

It is fun watching people walking and looking at artisans booths as they pass.
Occasionally there are mishaps of people running into each other, however it doesn't happen often.

This view is from Ankeny square looking towards the river where the Market continues.

This view is from Ankeny square looking towards the river where the Market continues.  Portland Saturday Market encompasses Ankeny Square on one side of the street and on the other side of Natio Parkway the cemented section left of the fountain.  It extends all the way under Burnside Bridge.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bronzite Gemstones

Bronzite semi precious gemstones, known also as brownzite is a tan brown gemstone that is actually hypersthenes, which is part of the pyroxene group. It is usually enhanced by being chemically weathered and the process creates the wonderful sub metallic luster mostly on the surface, though it does go deeper on occasion. It is a gemstone that often contains pieces of highly reflective minerals such as hematite. The weathering process increase the effect of the enhancement of the enamoring bronze like effect that is the signature look in most of these beautiful gemstones. Occasionally, depending on the cut and style certain beads can exhibit a cat’s-eye like effect. The color of the bronzite gemstones can ranges from brown to greenish-black.

Bronzite orbs, and dyed jade, Goddess anklet

It is considered a high energy gemstone, making it perfect for today’s fast paced society, by allowing one to work under pressure during difficult or stressful times. During goal setting it can help facilitate a feeling of certainty, by allowing the whole picture to be seen clearly. At the same time it forestalls feelings of discouragement regardless of how daunting the task may seem.

The same benefits can be used to process through difficult and challenging decisions, especially when they involve the future. Energies of the bronzite gemstones are believed to assist in sorting out the negative consequences and the benefits of each decision. It is believed the focusing on a piece of bronzite gemstone and meditate on the decisions increase the benefits of the stones energies in the decision making process.

Esoterically it is believed that the bronzite gemstones are effective in countering and protecting from any ill will directed at you. It is also believed to increase acceptance, help and inspire courtesy in others. It can also be used to balance the sacral chakra and for opening the root chakra.

Bronzite semi precious gemstones are practically essential for anyone whom works with the public on a daily basis. Especially if they are in the customer service industry and must maintain calm, polite professional attitude at all times.

Bronzite Semi Precious Gemstone and Deep Red Viking Knit Wire Bracelet
Bronzite oval and orbs Viking knit bracelet

Looking for information on a different gemstone? You can find a complete list in Gemstones , each one links to the article we have written. Check back as we will continue to update the as we move forward. Don't see a gemstone on the list you would like to see more information on? Leave a comment and we will add it to the list.

Information provided in this stone blog is informational and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bath Time and Children

For many bath time and children is a challenge.  Most children love water but for whatever reason, they do not like bath time.  I think it has to do with most parents of small children do bath time in the evening right before bed and the children don't want to end their day and stop playing.  Yet, who knows the minds of children are complex.

So make bathtime fun by having fun shaped soaps.  Handmade artisan soaps, that you can find on ArtFire, in fun shapes are sure to smooth bath time drama's.  Unscented or soothing aroma's the choices are unlimited.

Puzzle Piece Soaps

Fun puzzle shaped pieces.

Ribbit, ribbit frogs are so much fun.

Ducky bath soap duck pond Rubber Duckie Glycerin Soap vegan

Yellow princess ducks.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Portland Saturday Market and Kids

While Portland Saturday Market is an artisan market, we do try and include activities for the whole family.  Being located outside and next to a fantastic park, most people like to enjoy the market as a family.

This year the market has pulled together and is running a kids activities booth.

 kids activities booth
 Children's activities booth

Their is also a gentleman who makes balloon art.

 balloon art.
 Balloon Art

Something for every age to enjoy
Something for every age to enjoy

Creating a unique experience you will remember and enjoy,
when you all visit the Portland Saturday Market,
 is something we are always looking to improve on.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Entwined Vines Beginnings

Entwined Vines Jewelry was born as an idea two years ago, give or take a couple of weeks.  When Tina said "hey ya want to start a jewelry business?  We enjoy making it, people like what we make and well what else are we going to do with it since we can only give family and friends so much."   Sure, I said, ha little did I know the adventure I had agreed to embark on.  

We have both been making jewelry for years in all types of different mediums and designs.  One time we figured it out and combined we have 45+ years of jewelry making experience. 

First we started off listing a couple of items on E-bay.  We figured out really quick that wasn't going to work for us.  The fees cut into our bottom line way too much.  Paying to list something and not have it sell, yeah nope didn't work for us.   At the time someone had previously mentioned a couple of sites to us, so we started researching other on-line options.  We had already determined we didn't want a brick and mortar store, too much hassle.

After much research (let me tell you there are a lot of handmade selling sites, looked at them all), we determined ArtFire was the best fit for us.   We like the fact that no one has to register in order to buy from us and it keeps our bottom line intact with a once a month fee versus other set ups.   Which the most common that we found is that the site charges a fee when you list the item (with limited time frame on some of  them) and a Final Value Fee.   A Final Value fee is usually a percentage of the sale price, ranging anywhere from 1 % to 15 %.

Then we spent several weeks trying to find a suitable name for our business.  Entwined Vines came about for several reasons, but mainly because we are friends first and foremost and our lives are intertwined.

Setting up our ArtFire studio was an education unto itself.  Little did we know what all would be involved in that.   Both of us having a background in photography did not prepare us for the requirements of product photography.  Not to mention the need for banners, avatars and social media.  Photography has been and will be an ongoing education.  Part of that is the market atmosphere and part of that is continuing to improve technique. 

Who new how much of our week would be spent on Social Media when we started this business, we surely didn't.  Tina and I are both people who would rather visit face to face than through the computer.  however, we have adapted and overcome and now have integrated Entwined Vines Jewelry and ourselves into the social media world.  

Though I have to tell you there are days I break all the rules in regards to Social Media.  Be it blogging, on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, how you ask, simple really.   All the experts agree that a business social media should avoid the following topics:  Politics, religion, finance, sex....   hmm, so what does that leave.  So, yes while I break all the rules I do try and provide information on both view points for a good debate, even on the topics I am absolutely fanatical in one direction about.   These are the topics that matter to you all, so why should they be avoided and well what rule wasn't meant to be broken at some point I say.

Officially we started Entwined Vines Jewelry November 2010. With ArtFire set up we determined we needed a larger target market to sustain us while we branded ourselves on line.   The advantage to living in Portland is we have a huge artisan population.  The result is the largest longest running outdoor market in the United States.   Portland Saturday Market is an all artisan market, with a stringent multi step jury process to ensure the integrity of product being sold.  It is definitely a feather in our cap that we were accepted.

Having just started our second year at Portland Saturday Market last weekend.  I look back and wow have we accomplished a lot in a very, very short amount of time.  Opened our on line studio, applied and was accepted and made it through our first year with Portland Saturday Market. 

All of this while dealing with major life challenges.  Both Tina and I within a month of each other found out we were gluten intolerant.  Still having our day jobs while we grow Entwined Vines Jewelry, tripling our inventory, jobs being lost, cars breaking down, unexpected house repairs.  Yep, all life stuff, some major not listed here, yet when it is continuous with no break it really does become a challenge.

While we have taken a few hard knocks along the way, there are no regrets!  Even if I am exhausted after writing this and looking back at everything we have accomplished in such a short amount of time.

This year the priority to do list is a less daunting.  The top three items in order are:  more time for our friendship, increasing the creation of our own lampwork glass pieces, and doubling our current inventory.  As anyone know there is a lot more that is done behind the scenes, yet these are the first three on our year long to do list for Entwined Vines Jewelry.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March's Collection

Circles, Circles Everywhere" is a collection showcasing different artistic creations of ArtFire artisans.  Circles are often found in art and life, they are everywhere and not just in crop circles.

If you think about is communities run in circles, especially when one helps another and that person helps another and so on and so forth. This is so prevalent that it is now being written into search engine algorithm's, just look at  Google+,  it's whole preface is built around circles.

Circles are used in business too.  Here at Entwined Vines Jewelry we have been buildding our circles of loyal customers.  While social business time is limited we spend a bit of quality time at each location, as we know each of you has your own personal prefrance of social media platforms.  We look forward to seeing you.

Entwined Vines Jewelry at:

Indie Public