Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summertime's Calling Me

It's's summer, and boy does it feel like it. Here in the piedmont, NC it's been H O T hot! It's keeping everyone busy watering gardens and flowers...and little kids!

With all that's going on here I'm forced to take a computer break for a few weeks at least, but I thought I'd give an explanation before my disappearance rather than come back with apologies.

I hope you all are enjoying your summer and I look forward to seeing what you are up to when I return. The shop will be open as usual by chance or appointment weekdays and Saturdays...if you are driving a distance it will be best if you do call first, as we are in and out a lot this time of year.

If you want to take a gander at my photos below, you will see where I'm spending a considerable amount of time....

My first Black-eyed Susan of the season  bloomed yesterday along with my first sunflower

I always have to have at least one pot of sea roses...sometimes I find them popping up in the oddest places,
nowhere even near where they were the season before.

Our first raised bed garden. I've loved it! No tractor or tiller needed.

... I could use a weed eater though.

Our first cukes showed up this week along with the zucchini. Yum.

The Chaste tree in front of the shop is in bloom loaded with bees. It was windy in this picture,
but it's really pretty and round on top.
Bees on the blooms.
See you back here soon!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Three days and Counting...until...

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!

With Father's Day approaching I thought I'd throw out a few ideas for gift giving. If your Dad is like mine he already has everything and says he doesn't need anything.

Remember those little coupon booklets we made for Dad as children? A coupon for a car/truck wash, breakfast in bed, or for mowing the yard...and then there was one for something that included us...a day of fishing or trail riding or even better a weekend of camping. Those were the days!

In the shop, we have a few things Dad may like too.

For the collector Dad...

Collectible oil cans

Handmade fishing/tool box and old tools

Collectible cameras

For the writer Dad...

Hand lathed pen and pencil sets by Charles Hepler

Letter opener sets / pen and pencil sets

Soy Candles for burning while writing

Masculine scents like Caribbean Teakwood in various sizes and containers

For the art appreciating Dad...

1950's  framed Charlie Russel prints 

Dyrk Godby print, "Countin' 'em out"

Vintage Travel Trailer  art by Paige Bridges

These are only a few suggestions...we have more! Come see us for your Dad's unique gift! Open this weekend 10-5 Friday and 10-2 Saturday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How Tu...esday. Get Creative with Containers

Over the weekend, we had a family cookout at the lake where my brother-in-law and his wife live. Everywhere we looked they had the most beautiful pots of plants and flowers which lead to a conversation about the expense of not the flowers...but the containers.

It's true. Containers bought at the garden shop or even one of the big box stores will set you back a pretty penny.  I have a hard time personally, justifying the cost, although I have splurged a time or two for a beautiful pot. For the most part though I have usually looked around behind our out buildings or through my husband's junk stash for anything hollow to stuff my plants and flowers in...
I am a cheap-o.

Old cast iron pot with it's lid propped up at it's side

Late one Sunday evening I got a whim to add a couple of planters on each side of the shop walkway...but I didn't have two matching containers except the ones on my front porch. Not many people come to our front door when they visit so I seriously considered swiping those. Then, from no where to now here (I love that expression) I saw in my mind's eye the trailer park planter from a past life I suppose. I went out behind Rick's shop and found his scrapped block from the same building and wha-la...matching planters. Being the junque dealer that I am it is only fitting that I use said junque in my own decorating. Right?

Half of a concrete block set up on it's end...bottomless so it's great for something with long roots or perennials 

The little granite blocks around the concrete block are from the Blue Ridge Mountains and were at one time part of a parkway wall that was removed for new construction.  All of the  granite used in the parkway was actually mined from the mountains by the way. The horseshoe is one of many that I've used in my gardens. I love the rusty brown with the plain gray backdrop of the concrete block.

It appears that I really have an appreciation for rust...another rusty piece that I love!

Old fireplace grate works as a pot holder for my geraniums this summer.

I don't do just rust....This old enamel milk bucket has always been one of my favorites. Everything I put in it looks great...white seems just make everything pop.

In the shop, I've taken lots of things that might have gone to the dump and am using them as plant containers. To
me they still have a few more years of service in them lending their character and beauty in new ways. 

Old galvanized bucket with a nice, pretty wooden handle and decorative  hardware

Sweet, rusty enamel coffee pot 

Bromwell sifter...a little bent and rusty, a lot cute! ...and the Sweet Annie  pictured here is looking much better. I think she was still in shock from the transplant.
What is your favorite alternative to a pricey planter? I'd love to see your photos too...leave a link with your comment.  I  hope you can get out and enjoy your garden today! I plan to do the same.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Keeping it Simple

For a while...not sure how long exactly but I'm thinking about 10 years or so, I have struggled with balance in my life. Women seem to have a much harder time than men because we want to be everything to everyone. At almost 51, it finally hit me that we cannot be anything to anyone if we are not true to ourselves first.

I haven't written a post like this in a while so get yourself a cup of something if you plan to ride this one out...Maybe this should just be for my personal journal, but then again, maybe there is someone else out there that is feeling the same way....

Since discovering the internet around 12 years ago, I have been on information overload. The entire world was opened up to someone that has lived in the same place forever. 

I had a successful art business, was very happy building a home and family and was at a point where we were seeing for the first time some financial prosperity. Life was perfect! 

I believed that with the world now at my fingertips all would be even better...but what happened was that I began to do what I saw my middle schooler doing but was completely blindsided until just recently. I used to tell her that maybe she was unhappy with things because she was comparing herself to too many friends at once. It's hard enough when we compare ourselves to one great individual but when we are one compared to a group it's overwhelming not only for a child but to anyone of us.

With the internet, now we can see we are just one of many that designs, makes, writes, name it, anything. We are just a drop in the bucket and whatever it is we do, someone else has probably already done it. First there were websites, ebay and blogs, and now there are as many social networks as there are people to join them. It's never ending! 

Then we have the marketing gurus that tell us we must do all of these things or we are sure to fail. We must! 

So for the last decade or so, I have spent countless hours online creating websites, blogs, selling on ebay and etsy, starting facebook pages reading every how to be successful books I heard about...and somehow managed to spend time with my children going to ball games and horseshows, open and close a gallery, teach art classes and have summer art camps for kids, travel to exhibit  my floorcloths in shows, move my business back home, homeschool our son, and now have opened an entirely new I've started this new blog and more social network accounts....insert a breath... and then just a few weeks ago it hit me that life...was totally and completely not mine anymore and I got really angry. Really, really angry.

I spent an entire morning on my porch thinking....what do I want to do? What was I doing the last time I was truly happy with myself? was way back before the time of the world wide web...when I was blissfully ignorant actually.

I applied to shows not knowing that people sent in applications and prayed for years to be included...and I got in. I sent in amateurish slides to national magazines and was published. I once sent a hand drawn and written brochure printed on pink paper (what the heck?) to a fellow interior designer and the next thing I knew I was asked to design a line of floorcloths for an accessory program with a major furniture manufacturer. We exhibited them for two years and my sales were crazy good all over the country. I didn't know the proper way to do anything, but people were most receptive to my ideas and I honestly think I got their attention because I kept things simple. 

Simple is not all bad...simpletons, however are a whole different subject that we will not discuss today ( don't you love how my mind rambles?) ...but a simple lifestyle is what I want to get back to and away from so MUCH information.

I will say, I have met some wonderful people through social networks and blogs and some great business contacts as well. It definitely has a purpose...but, we can get caught up in comparisons, just like a middle schooler and then we ( I ) try to do it like this artist and that person and then there is this business that has this workshop and that dealer that is also renting two booths at the big antique malls and so on and so on....until we are spinning so fast we are not doing anything but marketing, keeping up with the business Joneses, and collecting "friends", "fans", or "followers" online. One day we wake up and wonder what happened to our real friends and when was the last time we enjoyed working in the studio...or worked IN the studio period?

Are you on your second cup yet? If you are reading this at night you'd better skip the wine in case it makes you sleepy...I have a few more thoughts....

So, back to the angry part...I was really angry. Normally, I'm a very good actor and play "pleasant" as best I can, but I did share this with my friend Cheryl...Hey Cheryl...but, at that point I wasn't exactly sure why...several things were taking place in my life that could be affecting me...and they all were stemming from my lack of authenticity. 

But, now it's resolved because I figured out that I was angry with myself. I am learning to be ME again...and it's really not that hard. There have been days I didn't even turn on my computer and I didn't realize it. I do have thoughts that I'm not being a responsible business person by not posting my every thought or great junk find or new art piece or what ever...but, dang it, what did people do before they conveniently went online to see...they visited or called. Anyone remember Sunday afternoon visits? My grandparents stayed dressed in their Sunday best and visited or entertained visitors every Sunday afternoon. Who does that anymore?


I am not checking out of the blog or my facebook pages, but just limiting my posts to the important stuff. I know if you are interested you will check to see if I've been online lately despite what the gurus say about having a schedule and what percentage needs to be personal and what needs to be about your work... I know this because,  I have my list that I check out because I want to see what they have been up to.  I don't forget the people I'm truly interested in. I hope you won't forget me. 

We are almost through here...

So, as far as simplifying my life goes...For today, I am making a point of remembering that Sunday is a day of rest...and like God, we artists, or really all of us, are creators too...

Genesis 2: 3  And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Thank you for taking your time to read this. I hope, if you've been feeling overwhelmed in your work or your life that you can take some time too to think about what you need to do to make it yours again. 

Below are a few pictures from my herb garden....I honestly intended to only post photos today...funny how things change. 

Enjoy your day of rest

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer Hours at the Studio and Shop...Open by Chance or Appointment

Sorry, I've been away from the blog so long....

Little Velcro asleep in the shop

I'm not sleeping

or playing....

....just busy in the studio and shop...and outside in the gardens and barn...trying to get some housecleaning done...and then there is the grocery shopping, errands, cooking and laundry...and did I mention we already have our spring hay in the barn? You know how it much to do, so little time. I hope to find my rhythm and get back to posting soon. Please don't give up on me. 

Remember the studio and shop are open all summer by chance or appointment. Please call/text me at  336-905-0386. I am in and out some days so you might better call ahead if you are driving from a distance.

I will have the AC cranked up and a delicious summer scented candle burning. We've added 3 new scents to our collection for the summer so far...Lavender Sage Cucumber, Carribean Teakwood, and Coconut Lime Verbena. We also have Citronella to keep away those pesky mosquitoes! 

I hope you too, are enjoying the unofficial start to summer. School will be out next week and we already are having temps in the mid 90's here. If the pool were open I'd be trying to fit that into my day too! Talk to you soon. Honest.