"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015


 They're heeeere!
My seed orders from Rareseeds and the Hudson Valley Seed Library have arrived!
Beautifully illustrated little packets of springtime goodness containing these...
  Hollyhocks, the before picture.
Imagine if the packet didn't have a picture or a label? 
 Is it just me, or is it mind blowing that these tiny plain brown flakes will completely transform into tall, gorgeous flowers. 
It's a pretty strong argument in favor of change and transformation. Butterflies, flower seeds, people...

Maybe if I'm more like the plain brown seed than the flowering hollyhock today that's okay. 

In the meantime, I'm going to make cool little DIY starting pots I found on a great blog called Learning and Yearning and start planting seeds. Stay tuned, I can't wait to show you! 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Spring Fever: Heirloom Flower Seeds

 Many years ago when we took the kids to see the mission in San Juan Capistrano (the one where the swallows return every year) I met and fell in love with hollyhocks -kind of like Frank Lloyd Wright devotee, heiress Aline Barnsdall -only without the oil money, but I digress...

 The tall cottage-style flowers with sturdy stems and happy, colorful petals dotted the pathways like wildflowers and I immediately went home and planted my own.

Along with sunflowers, foxglove, and delphinium (Wow, I am realizing a clear penchant for tall flowers!) they have been in and out of our garden for years.

This year, I am craving them. About a week ago, I went to the seed section at one of the big box home improvement stores and -nada, nothing. So this morning, while many of my friends and relatives are shoveling their way through an epic storm of legendary proportions - I began browsing heirloom flower seeds from online companies.


 For my snowed in friends, I humbly suggest from my sunny room in Southern California -that the process of browsing and planning for spring and summer (yes, it really is coming) is like a working daydream -completely absorbing and a whole lot of fun for very little money. Spring fever as the cure for cabin fever?

Rareseeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds was the catalog I spent the most time looking at because it was one of the first ones I found, and they had a large variety of hollyhocks -of which I ordered several. I also ordered several other cottage-garden flowers and a few vegetables. I'll show you all the packets when they come in! (I might have gone a teensy bit crazy...)

For more online browsing/dreaming check out the Seed Savers Exchange,  the Hudson Valley Seed Library (I ordered the Skyscraper Sunflower: "Nearly a tree in one short season!" although not sure where to plant it yet...), and Victory Seed Company. If you have a favorite heirloom seed supplier I would love to know! Please share the name in the comments below!

The photo above is the Indian Spring Hollyhock I ordered from Rareseeds...

 Fig-Leafed Hollyhock at Rareseeds

Photography and illustration from the Rareseeds Website.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Working Holiday: Craftcation

First came the stay-cation, now behold Craftcation, a four-day getaway designed to inspire, support and educate creative, passionate souls in the process of pursuing their entrepreneureal dreams.

Craftcation, now in its fourth year, is  a spin off of the wildly successful Patchwork Show festivals created by artistic muses on a mission Delilah Snell and Nicole Stevenson. "I’ve always wanted to inspire fellow business people to take that chance and just do it!" says Snell.

Creative entrepreneurs themselves, Snell and Stevenson have designed a conference that blends hands-on craft worshops with bottom line business sessions and networking opportunities. This spring's list of presenters include: Kari Chapin, best selling author of Grow Your Handmade Business and The Handmade Marketplace; Kaari Meng, former jewelry designer for Anthropologie and owner of French General an ultra cool vintage craft boutique and workshop in L.A.; Nancy Soriano, the former editor in chief of Country Living Magazine and co-founder of the Creative Connection Event; Kim Werker, the author of Make It Mighty Ugly, a handbook for banishing creative demons by confronting them head on; along with a host of highly talented bloggers, artists, retailers, financial experts, educators, marketing pros and many more. 

For a complete list of presenters, a schedule of events and registration info, check out the website, DearHandmadeLife.com.  
March 26-29 - Ventura, California 
Crown Plaza Ventura Beach
Early bird registration (until Feb. 15) is $365
Registration prior to March 7 is $400 

Images from the Dear Handmade Life Website.

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