Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Holidays Gift Market 2013

The weekend of Dec. 7-8 at the Mitch Wilson Memorial Festival of Trees Exhibit at the Arlington Museum of Art will be a very special and fun weekend. In addition to the beautifully decorated trees and the Happy Holidays Gift Store (that my items are part of), Tom Newsom (the artist whose Santa Art is on display) will be there to sign autographs, live holiday entertainment will be going on part of the day and almost 30 additional artisans will be there with their creations as part of the Happy Holidays Gift Market. As a gift to the community, the Arlington Museum of Art will have free admission to the Festival of Trees for this weekend. (The first photo shows a decorated tree and a piece of Tom Newsom's Santa art. The second photo shows a portion of my favorite tree in the exhibit.)

The Gift Market’s artisans will be set up on three floors of the museum. They will have an exciting array of items from handmade dolls to creations made from wine corks to fairy house nightlights and much, much more. Some participating artisans are listed on the Happy Holidays Happenings event page in the Happy Holidays Gift Market section. Click their button to be taken to their online presence to get a preview of some of the items you can expect at the market. Others have Etsy shops and can be found on the Etsy Local listing for the Happy Holidays Gift Market.

Additional fun can be found in Downtown Arlington on Saturday, Dec. 7. Check out information for the Holiday Lights Parade festivities which include the Elf show at the Levitt Pavilion. Grab some friends and family and come out for a day of fun, including finding fabulous finds for those special people on your gift list. Maybe you'll even find something fabulous to treat yourself to. Remember, the Happy Holidays Gift Market is at the museum on both Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7-8.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Etsy adds new Feature, Etsy Local

In the past whenever I have attended a craft show or some other opportunity when I had the chance to have people see me and my creations in person, I added a bit to my Etsy shop announcement in case anyone local to me read it and wanted to come out. (I know of one instance for sure when someone actually came to a show I was at because of my announcement.) Etsy has added a new feature to make it easy to see if a particular seller will be at an upcoming market or to find a show populated at least in part by some Etsy sellers.

This new feature is called Etsy Local. Etsy’s announcement to the Etsy community contained the following:
“Etsy is all about connecting people and communities. We've seen how local craft fairs give sellers new opportunities to expand their businesses, and help our community grow. To spread the word about these local events and bring our online communities to the offline, we’re excited to introduce Etsy Local. This free, new feature will help shoppers connect with Etsy sellers who are participating in fairs and markets in their local area.

Shoppers can search by location and timeframe to see where Etsy sellers have set up shop. In addition to basic information like the event’s date, time, and venue, Etsy Local provides buyers with a list of sellers who’ve confirmed their attendance, as well as links to those sellers' Etsy shops.”

There are two ways that I currently know of to find information through Etsy Local. If you want to know if a particular seller is participating in any markets, scroll down the left column in their shop and if they have joined any events. If they have you will see “x upcoming market(s)” between their number of sales and number of admirers. Click that button to see information about the market(s) they will be attending. If you want to find a market near you that Etsy sellers will be participating in, go directly to Etsy Local, , and put in your location and time frame to get a list of shows near you and to find out what Etsy sellers will be at them.

(Click on the images to enlarge them. These images are screenshots taken from Etsy’s website to illustrate what you will see when you click on either method of accessing Etsy Local described above.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Not all Bluestem are Blue Ribbon Winners

One would think with a name like King Ranch Bluestem that this plant would be a Texan through and through. Not so however, aka KR Bluestem, this grass was introduced as forage for livestock. Now it is considered an invasive plant that is detrimental to many native species, not blue ribbon winner behavior. The bluestem portion of the name is also somewhat misleading. While it is considered a clumping grass, it does not tend to form the nice tight bunches or clumps of the native little or big bluestem grasses.

Native bluestems make great additions to the landscape. I first fell in love with little bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium, seeing it along roadsides. I love the blue green foliage that persists throughout the summer. I have added some clumps to my garden in order to incorporate that lovely color. The seed heads are interesting and once bitten by winter freezes, the grass makes a nice ornamental focal point in rusty browns. I don’t cut the clumps back until just before new growth starts in the spring.

Big bluestem, Andropogon gerardii, is not quite as pretty year round as little bluestem but it has its place in the garden. Big bluestem is late to get growing in the spring and I find its foliage to be a bit coarse. Where it really shines though is in its stand out fall bloom period. The three fingered “turkey foot” seed heads grow very tall and are striking to look at. I plant mine so that other plants around it take center stage until the big bluestem puts on its show late summer or early fall.

Consider adding these two native ornamental grasses to your landscape. They are very drought tolerant. In fact, if you are too generous with the water you will encourage too much growth and the plants will get floppy on you come late summer or fall when they elongate and put out their seed heads. Little and big bluestem ARE blue ribbon winners in my book.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thanks for the Treasuries - October 2013

Three different Etsians and one Etsy team let me know that they had featured one or more of my items in a treasury during October. Six October Etsy treasuries, that treasury makers let me know about, included one of my creations. You can see a collage below of my items from EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic that were featured during October. (Click on the collage to see a larger view.)

I really appreciate being featured by the treasury makers. To thank them, I have listed below (in alphabetical order) links to the 3 Etsy sellers that let me know that they featured one of my items, as well as an item from their shop that I like. You will also see information about the TexasFriendsTeam that also featured items of mine.

Enjoy window shopping and please click on the shop links of anything that catches your eye.

Get your sparkle on. Beautiful bling for every outfit in your closet from this jewelry artist.

If you have a wine connoisseur who happens to appreciate hand made items look no further than this shop's wine-related products. They make the perfect gift!

Crochet play food, toys and afghans for the kids; fun coasters, pin cushions and more for your home are found in this adorable shop.

Past, present and future Texans are welcome and encouraged to join this team. The only real rules of the group are to promote friendly, The TX Way, and be respectful to all who participate.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Artist Spotlight – Susan Ashley

During this past year another piece of gourd art spoke to me and asked to be taken home. While it has some similarities to my previous gourd art purchase, it also has some big differences. It has a wonderful applied patina that complements the other natural elements of the piece similar in this concept to my first piece. The gourd edge is woven with cording however, instead of being edged with pine needles. While the other piece is wonderfully wild, this piece has a more classical quality to it. The bottom of the piece is actually the top cut off of another gourd. Two stones, one attached to the stem end of the gourd to create a stable base and the other wrapped in cording to create a focal element for the piece echo the colors of the other elements.

I have watched the creators of both of my gourds work on new pieces and I have been totally fascinated. You have an opportunity to watch Susan demonstrate the art of basket weaving during the artist demonstrations that are part of the Arlington Museum of Art’s Mitch Wilson Memorial Festival of Trees. She will be the artist featured on Saturday, November 23, 2013. I think you will be as fascinated as I was watching her work.

In addition to the artist demonstrations, beautifully decorated trees and other holiday trimmings, the Festival of Trees contains the Happy Holidays Gift Store full of handmade items from local artisans as well as some vintage finds.