Tuesday, September 30, 2008

flEa MarKeT fuN

You never know what you’re going to haul home from a flea market. That’s what makes it such an exciting shopping adventure – the hunt, the unexpected discoveries, the cheap buys, the one of a kind treasures. My search list is never the same and sometimes you just let the day lead the way. I'm happy to report my recent trip to the Pecatonica Flea Market yielded vintage tools. I love having a variety of tools to work with because they really expand creative opportunities and possibilities. That being said, I want to be able to actually use the tools, not just have them sitting around as props, so when I’m able to find old ones that actually run good..Whoo! Hoo!

I scored a circular saw, a couple of jig saws, a scroll saw and some hand tools like a draw blade, a brass hammer, vises and a sweet pair of retro safety glasses.
All but one of the power tools run beautifully! The $1 jigsaw unfortunately has an electrical issue…the tape around the housing was a bit of a red flag, but as my husband always says… “if it’s man-made, I can fix it” – so, we’ll see!

Last trip, I hauled home a climatorium. Yes, a climatorium. Think aerogarden, only MUCH larger, MUCH more laboratory looking and well, interesting to say the least!

My Aunt DeDe told me that I would have a lot of fun with it and should buy it – yes, she's a bit of an instigator and I always seem to bite! You should have seen my husband’s face when I unloaded that beauty! (I’ve yet to have ‘fun’ with it, but I’m going to get that contraption up and running and see what I can get growing over the winter -- biggest challenge will be trying to figure out which room it will look best in!) Let’s just say I think I redeemed myself with Jon when I unloaded my tool purchases this time around!
The climatorium is going to be a tough one to top!

Cheers to flea market fun everywhere!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

tHey cAll iT cHeaTiN'

If you're having a party or taking some pictures and your container plants are looking less than stellar in the background....I have a quick fix to spruce things up and make those pathetic pots look lush again! Run around the yard and start clipping the things that are vibrant and doing well and add them to your containers. Clip vines, branches, hearty blooms (live forevers fill things out beautifully and are long lasting). We were shooting some things on our studio deck last week and a couple of my boxes had seen better days. Needless to say, they were looking pretty sad and not very photogenic. My solution was to run to the garden center and just replant, but in the meantime, my mom (who has obviously done this before) had already transformed them back into vibrant, lively containers again! Took her only a few minutes and cost us nothing! BRILLIANT!

.....and definitely worth sharing.
Cheers to a little cheatin' now and then!

Monday, September 15, 2008

thE AdVenTurE Is iN tHe bAckPacK

I admit..I sometimes come up with projects for my daughter because it also sounds like fun FOR ME! Not that I really need an excuse, but I absolutely love coming up with things for kids, especially projects that involve nature and the imagination. So, I'm always trying out different things on her, hoping to encourage playful activities that are nothing short of adventurous, imaginative and as far away from mind-numbing technology, as possible. The latest has been getting her set up with an adventure backpack. I've been wanting to put one of these together for her for quite a while now, and I think I was more excited about the whole idea of having an adventure backpack than she was. It just sounds exciting, doesn't it?! A backpack loaded up with all the cool things that make outdoor exploring the best possible experience ever. And, if you think they're just for kids, think again. I, of course had to create one for myself.... Mine just has more art supplies in it than bug collecting tools! (I'm past the whole 'grab every insect, frog or worm that I encounter' stage) They're as much fun to make, as they are to use, so whether you're young or old, with children or without, an adventure backpack should be hanging by everyone's door! Nature is very inspiring, creatively speaking and once you tap into all the amazing textures, patterns and colors that are out there, you too will start documenting, collecting and creating. Turn off the cell phone. Shut down the computer. Unplug the video games. Immerse yourself in everything the great outdoors has to offer, because an invigorating creative world awaits you and your family. Everyone will return refreshed, re-energized, relaxed and focused. It's the kind of fun most of us forget to have on a regular basis. Here's a list of ideas to get you packin': Add or subtract supplies to whatever suits you and your exploring style. Personally, I like to be ready for anything.
- lightweight backpack with lots of pockets and compartments
- journal or sketchbook
- favorite writing utensils
- small pair of scissors to trim grass, leaves or flowers
- ruler to measure insects and things
- drawstring bag or trinket box to store found treasures
- something to give you a closer look like a magnifying glass or pair of binoculars
- small garden shovel to dig with
- compact pop up screen house for bug and butterfly observation
- gloves
- flashlight
- butterfly net
- picnic size blanket
- insect repellant and sunscreen
- hand wipes
- visor and sunglasses
- healthy snacks and water bottle
- all-in-one compact pruning tool or swiss army knife
- portable flower press
- small spray bottle filled with water
- digital or disposable camera
- portable screen sifter (take a small, empty wooden picture frame and staple aluminum window screen across the front of the opening.) Fun to have if by a pond or creek.
- identification books to look up birds, plants and insects.

What's in your backpack?!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

ZNE convenZioNE 2008

We returned from this extraordinary event a couple of weeks ago and our feet hit the ground running with work commitments. There’s been projects galore, shoots and writing into the wee hours, so I’m just now getting the opportunity to chat about it. Creativity is powerful and when you combine that with an incredible community of creative people, pretty amazing things happen. That’s what ZNE is all about. There’s an inspiring backstory, a fearless leader who they call the ‘queen’ and an immense group of members who support one another in all their art efforts. They’re charitable and inspiring and I was proud to be asked to be a part of it all. Chelise Stroud put her heart and soul into the event and it showed. I attended a fun workshop by a gal after my own heart, Chrysti Hydek; met remarkable people and got to see a fabulous part of the country, Pleasanton, CA. I had the pleasure of meeting the inspiring artist and author, SARK; view an incredible documentary – 1000 Journals, listen to some great tunes by their resident musician Jon Troast (a.k.a. the guy who travels around the country and will provide you with a concert in your living room), and was even able to sneak in a nature fix with a quick visit to Muir Woods. I’m all about positive, empowering interaction and support, and it was refreshing to see a community of artisans delivering just that.
Congrats to ‘bonniebluedenim’ who won the $200 spending spree and thanks to everyone who checked out our blog to get registered. We’ll be offering up another chance to win for next year’s event.
Loud and Proud Cheers to ZNE. It was a genuine pleasure meeting all of you and I look forward to the next one.

I’ve posted a slideshow below set to a kickin’ tune from our friends at Authentic Records. It’s ‘Gypsy Queen’ by Jon Peter Lewis (I, of course had to select a ‘queen’ type song – it’s also one of the songs Chad and I jammed to as we tried to make our way around Pleasanton)
(for smooth playing, be sure to let it ‘buffer’ --- whatever that means…just make sure the gray bar is way ahead of the orange bar -- if your connection is slow, keep 'rewinding' until the gray bar gains some ground and it’ll play great!) how's that for techie-talk?!