Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ok, I guess I have Spring Fever, too!

The last few days have been glorious here in SE Idaho..temps in the 60's and green starting to spring forth. It won't fact we have snow and temps 1/2 that high predicted for tomorrow. But I have had a spring project waiting for me since Christmas.  

A close friend of mine who lives in Alaska sent me a lovely and unusual gift in memory of our days together when we used to haunt the greenhouses there. When you live in the Interior spring is not just a season, it's a release from winter's prison, and nothing screams change more that bright greenhouse raised riots of color of seedlings waiting for a new home.

I suppose I'm behind the times, but I had never heard of "BloemBox" . I guess Oprah highly recommended these little seed boxes as gifts, but this was my first time seeing one. Not only is it a lovely idea (am sure it's patented or I'd be oh so tempted to create my own!) but the one I got was unusual in the fact that it was promising me roses from SEED.  

Yes, roses grow from seed in the wild, but as far as I know is always sold as bushes that are already established. I can't say I'm sure that these will grow, or survive once transplanted but I would not be the garden adventurer I am if I didn't try.  

The photo above is showing my homemade greenhouse for (hopefully) 32 new rose bushes (the Hens & Chicks wanted their photo taken too...they just sort of 'walked' in and took over lol). I discovered this method last year and it was extremely successful for starting seeds.  

Yes, I'm guilty of buying bottled water...I cannot stand the taste or the color of city water here and I usually drink water on the go, when it's handy to have an easy to carry container. It makes me feel terrible that they fill up landsites though, so this is my way of recycling at least some of them.  

What you do is cut the bottles in half, the top will slide into the bottom with a little maneuvering. Toilet paper rolls cut in half are used for the 'pot' per small bottle, 2-3 per large. A good mosisture bearing light potting soil is ideal. Everything is moistened and then the lids are put on. I leave the top up on the snap lids and poke holes in the others...this keeps it from getting too wet, yet retains a really nice misty condition inside the bottles. 

Later, when the seedlings are a couple inches high, the caps will come off completely. I set the whole thing on a tray so I can move them around easily. When it comes time to harden them off outside, I remove the upper half of the bottles and I transfer the bottles to a heavy plastic milk crate...this allows the sun and air to still reach the plants but prevents them from being knocked over by the winds.  

Last year I started some creeping thyme this way and they were very happy little plants. My trouble always comes when it's time to transplant since we live in the high desert. Too early and the nights will freeze up, too late and the sun will fry them and no two years are exactly alike. Fingers crossed that these little guys work, we removed a huge shrub in front of our house last fall than left a perfect area for a rose garden :)


Friday, March 20, 2009

The Ideas behind a Creative Series of Art

I've been seriously pursuing an art career for just about 15 years now, but this new collection called Negative Spaces - Meanings in Random Patterns is my very first exploratory series. It hasn't happened quite how I would have imagined...the odds were that any series I produced would have been paintings, and yet this evolved as a jewelry pendant series. That's not to say that I might not cross over to another medium to explore this further, but at the moment I am content to explore this medium. As I said before, it began as a fluke...I just wanted to play with making some negative impression from an already deeply carved piece. I found it fascinating that the images created something quite different from the original stamp and that each piece also had hidden meanings for me. The above photo is of the eight pieces that form this collection, but there have been several other attempts that didn't quite fit the vision I have. The interesting thing is that the failed pieces became molds for two of these pieces and one is a piece made from a mold I completely designed myself. I think that I will be making a lot more of my own becomes a little less random, perhaps, but that is part of making it my own vision and because I will be making impressions the final piece will still have some random effects (that hopefully work). My first mold was made from polymer clay but I think I will move to soap or wax for my next mold and see what happens...that is the best part of doing a series, I evolves as you go and failures become success. What more could an artist ask for?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Want to know what 1000 Markets is about? Check this interview out!

I've been a member of 1000 Markets since mid-November and I'm totally passionate about it. I consider myself lucky to have been involved in this wonderful site while it's been developing in Sneak Preview and am very excited that we are moving towards our Grand Opening this spring. 

And so I was delighted to see that just did an extremely comprehensive interview with Matt, the CEO of 1000 Markets. Trust me, if you're one of the people wondering what this new venture called 1000 Markets is about, it's all right here in this article and is a must read for consumers, artisans and those in the Social Media arena that want to see what doing something the right way is all about.

As an artisan shopkeeper I have developed a huge respect for the whole 1000 Market team...I find not only does this site work for me in regards to quality, ease of use and support, it works for me because I also believe in the vision, quality and integrity of the concept, due to the people behind it. I do not give blind loyalty to anyone because, personally, I feel that people need to earn my trust. 

When Matt speaks for the 1000 Markets team and says "Ninety percent of what I do, I do because I love supporting artisan businesses." he is telling the truth...I have never seen a management group so willing to listen and implement ideas meant to help these selfsame artisans that have come together at 1000 Markets.

And I know, beyond a doubt, that when this site has its Grand Opening the trust of the buying public will also be earned...they will have a wonderful shopping experience, buying quality hand made products from a service oriented group of artisans backed by a trustworthy institution called 1000 Markets. 

If you are like me and like to make your own decisions based on integrity and trust, please take a moment to read this interview at and then come check out 1000 Markets . We're still in sneak preview and as Matt said, we're still rolling out some improvements like the category navigation system, but I know you'll be impressed. 


Monday, March 16, 2009

Notice about change of management at Peace and Love market

This is to serve as notice that I am no longer associated with, speak for or am in any way involved with the Peace & Love market. I have removed all accounts associated with this market under my personal and business name, but there may still be a few things out there where I have previously spoken on behalf of the market that could not be undone. 

I do wish all the merchants who are a part of this market much success in their endeavors.