Saturday, May 7, 2011

craftstravaganza 2011

Last Saturday, I visited one of my favorite urban/modern craft sales, Craftstravaganza. It's hosted in the Fine Arts building at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul and seems to always draw a crowd. And the weather always seems to be semi-miserable. It was cloudy, rainy and under 50 degrees for most of the day. I arrived around 3pm and watched the clouds part and sun start shining. I took that as a sign for me to have fun, fun, fun at the sale.

I've decided to start practicing creative tithing (link routes to an article by Scoutie Girl - highly recommend reading it if you're interested in this topic) - supporting other creatives by purchasing their art on a consistent basis - something I've done for a while actually, but lacked a great way to think about this practice until hearing about if from my friend Caiti. Here's how I tithed at the sale (and, just to note, I tithed a bit more than I expected too!):

Necklaces by Larissa. Loved her display (sorry, no pictures) and actually it's probably what drew me into her booth. I make much of my own jewelry so I usually pass right by the jewelry booths. She works with a lot of metals, which is something I don't do much of, so that's what first attracted me to hr space. Then I saw her lovely assortment of vintage/reproduction vintage lockets and necklace pendants and knew I would be picking something up. I left with two necklaces - the teal/ivory owl cameo (saving it for fall) and the golden yellow floral cabochon, which I'm wearing now.

Map cutout of Minnesota. I love maps. Have for a long, long time. I can read atlases for hours. So when I saw Stephanie's sleek and colorful display, dotted with map images, I walked right on over. I flipped through her Minnesota paper cuts and told her I'd be back after looking around some more because I was caught between two of her framed pieces. Obviously I did swing back later and decided to go with the Minnesota cut that features the area of northern Minnesota where I vacationed with my family from toddlerhood through college (what were the chances that Blackduck, Minnesota would make it in to one of her pieces - meant to be, right?). The other option was of the Twin Cities (and included my fav city of Northfield), but after a conversation with Stephanie's dad, I decided to go with Blackduck. Happy I did. Stephanie came all the way from Michigan for this sale, and indie crafting is her full-time gig. I was happy to meet her.

Peacock screenprint. I've really been into decorating and crafting with bird images for over a year. Peacocks (and owls) are new birds for me. I found this piece at Amy Jo's booth and I wasn't sure at first, but I'm happy I brought this home. I think it might be just right for this small spot above my kitchen sink that has stumped me art-wise for almost six years.

Not pictured:
Mother's Day card from Michelle. I always visit Michelle's booth. I have quite a few of her screenprinted creations and two photos. I love her floral/nature inspired prints. I believe she lives in North Dakota.

Six greeting cards from Keli. I chose to restock my greeting card collection from Keli, rather than Hallmark. We had a great chat, that among my typical crafty questions, included a conversation about how nice it would be to have a husband who would be all about doing the things we're not too keen on. For Keli that meant helping to haul in her displays for shows. For me that would mean cleaning up the kitchen after making a meal and spackling walls, among others. We had a good laugh together and I found myself with some super great cards.

I love this show! Both for the visual beauty and the beauty of connecting with the artists. And it's a sure sign the seasons are moving right along to spring and summer :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

creating a green oasis

I have fully embraced one of my 35 at 35 actions: creating a green oasis in my living space. I kicked into high gear with it after the holidays and I'm still going strong.

Since I moved out on my own I've experimented on and off with different houseplants. I quickly settled on the idea that pothos was the plant for me - I can let them dry way out and give them a really big drink and they more or less flourish. Along the way I learned I don't have the touch for snakeplants and the rest of what is sold in the plant mart at Ikea. I almost gave up on plants when I killed my fifth snakeplant. Really? They are said to be among the easiest plants to keep alive. I've since figured out I was planting them in too large of a pot and overwatering. Back to life as a pothos girl.

I think the motivation to expand my plantings came while I visited Savannah this past October. The city's foliage is gorgeous - mysterious and romantic, stately and wild - and it felt like a "character" to me in this storied town. I wanted to cultivate more living green in my home when I returned. I decided holding off on this project until after Christmas would be a great motivator for me. Fresh plants for a new year. This also gave me a bit of time to figure out container styles for my new friends. I've become more interested in decorating with white over the past year, so I decided to use vintage/thrifted milkglass and white ceramic pedestal vases for this project. I've loved finding them at the Goodwill and vintage/antique shops around town.

This project also brought me to a local nursery greenhouse in the middle of Minnesota's long and snowy winter. I spent a few weekends strolling the aisles, soaking up the warmth and light and textures of the space. So grateful for that.

Here's where I started in January - with baby's tears and a lemon-button fern. I've found success with the baby's tears, but the nursery experts helped me determine I don't have a "fern-loving" home.

I knew there was a reason I squirreled away these pebbles in a kitchen cabinet a few years ago. I grew tired of decorating with them, but they've come in handy for creating drainage in my vintage planters.

I've read quite a bit about creating terrariums and learned African violet mix is the soil to use when creating an enclosed garden. I've yet to make a terrarium (I'd like to, though), but I am finding success with the violet potting soil. It's more loose, which seems to be helpful for a recovering overwaterer like myself. It's easier for me to tell when the soil is dry and the soil dries out faster than others, so I can give into my urge to water.

This plant vignette lives on my kitchen peninsula counter. Near two windows. The fern started here, but died because there wasn't enough light and it was probably too cold during the winter months. The baby's tears (need weekly watering), pothos (monthly watering), succulents (bi-weekly watering) seem to like it here, though. The milkglass dish holds my newest plant obsession: air plants. I purchased five small plants from an etsy seller in February. Love them! Easy care - require no soil, just one to two showers a week under your sink faucet. I plan to add some larger plants to the mix this summer.

In March I picked up some wheatgrass seeds so I could see grass growing amid an outdoor landscape that was still covered with snow. I planted two rounds of container grass, most recently for Easter. It lasts for a few weeks, then seems to topple over and dry out. It spouts in just a few days in a thin layer of moist soil, and surprisingly, not much light. I do have to give it a "trim" to keep it shorter. In addition to the rectangular white planter, I now have it growing in the vintage cups in the second photo, too - next to the sedum-type plant that has been in bloom for 2+ months.

In April I picked up a small blooming orchid at Trader Joe's. First time for me with an orchid. I asked my mom about them and she's never had luck. So far I've followed the instructions on the tag (water when the top layer of moss is dry) and it's still living. I water with a basic liquid fertilizer mixed in the water. I hope that might prompt it to bloom again. It has one little bloom still hanging on. I read that once all the blooms fall, you should trim it back to the notch behind the lowest past bloom to get it going again. We'll see. The leaves are pleasant, too - remind me of magnolia leaves (which fell frequently from trees and hit my in the head - ouch! - in Savannah).

The vintage egg cup in the first photo (sorry for the scattered reference) is the perfect home for a small pony-tail palm. I love these plants. I have a much larger planting of three pony-tail bulbs in my bedroom that I picked up a few weeks ago. They tell you when they need water as their bulb shrinks in size - not very often, it turns out. I like their spikey and drapey texture.

And another shot of a tiny air plant. This project makes me so happy.