February is the beginning of the show circuit for us. While most of our plant material is still asleep we still gather enough to build gardens for each weekend show. Winter seems to be hanging on with extra vigor this year but the last weekend in February brought customers to a show in force. Folks are anxious to garden and were ready to begin gathering supplies to do so. The mini/fairy gardening phenomenon is steadily growing and it is our aim to do everything possible to fulfill our customers wants in that department. First we build the containers then we fill them with our signature little gardens. Both the gardens pictured above found new homes over the weekend. Time to build more!!
Sunday, January 5, 2014
We will debut a new class for our papercrete students in 2014. The new class will be using the same recipe as our basic class but will include a shell mold and hints on advanced molding and finishing techniques. We began making these bowls in the Fall and they were an instant hit on the craft show circuit. We have had fun building some fairy gardens in a few and always get compliments on the finished product.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The most frequently asked question is, "How do they hold up in the water?" After shoppers find that paper is one of the ingredients in the recipe of our product I find that it is a fair question. The paper is just a fiber source that is encased by portland cement and along with the filler perlite make up the product we call papercrete. I cannot say how long the product will hold up but we have had some of the pots in ground contact for several years without any deterioration. What we build each year once dry gets placed outside on pallets to suffer whatever Mother Nature throws at them. Containers built in the Fall are built for sale the following year so they are subjected to rain, snow, sleet, hail, and ice throughout the Winter. How do they hold up? About the same as the sidewalk in front of the house!!
Monday, December 2, 2013
A fresh batch of containers with ready made patios just out of the studio. What began as an experiment was in short supply as soon as we offered them to gardeners. Made in our signature papercrete pots they are the perfect start to a fairy garden or miniature landscape. With the addition of a feature plant, a ground cover, and a couple of accessories even a beginner can create a professional looking arrangement.
We like to infect as many as possible with the 'mini garden virus' and this is a great avenue to get someone started. Whether they are beginners or well versed in the art we advise our customers to create multiple containers, group them together, and connect them all with small bridges, sets of steps, or ladders. If you catch us at an event I will tell you how to build the patios.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Winter time is a hard time for us when we need gardens for shows. Most of our plant material has gone dormant so we resort to using small succulents for the green in our gardens. While these small gardens are not among our favorites we seldom bring one home from a show.
I vote for enjoying the holidays then telling Mother Nature to bring on Spring and warmer weather!
Saturday, November 30, 2013
It is November 30 and the weather is beautiful in Southwest Missouri. We normally wait until the cold blustery days of Winter to begin building our inventory of papercrete containers for the Spring/Summer show season but the demand for our containers has been great all Fall. I was suffering with a sore back so Peggy began to sell on the craft show circuit and has been well received. Increased sales has caused us to concentrate on working ahead of our usual schedule to maintain an inventory.
Show exposure with a unique craft item results in lots of invitations to additional events. Our 2014 event schedule is filling rapidly. Between the new events and finding groups to host our papercrete classes it seems that the coming season will be hectic yet fun. We had a goal of completing 1000 pieces to be ready for the '13 season. That goal was met and we expect to double that for '14.
Sunday, November 10, 2013
It was the middle of February and the weather was unsettled as they say in the Ozarks. Peggy and I had driven to the Portland area on a buying trip and had not experienced any bad weather or driving conditions on the way West. Portland was experiencing a week of rain yet well above freezing so it was tolerable. On our way out I had asked if there was anyplace special we should see since we had the weekend to kill before business on Monday morning. Peggy’s only request was to see the ocean.
Oregon 26, the road between the Portland area and the coast would turn out to be a smorgasbord of weather and driving conditions. It was touch and go as we experienced rain, sleet, snow, hail, and road conditions to match. Slow and steady we made our way to Seaside, Oregon the end of the Lewis and Clark trail. It was traveler’s luck that as we approached the last few miles to the coast the skies opened the sun bore down and we had a wonderful day exploring the quaint town of Seaside and then traveled South to Cannon Beach State Park. The scene was almost surreal as I captured a picture of my lovely bride doing the Hillbilly Strut down the beach with shoes in hand.
Absolutely fascinating is what I call the interaction of flora and fauna in nature. Sixty plus years has not dampened my desire to see just how ingrained we are with everything that surrounds us. I remember once hearing a quote that said, “man owes his existence to six inches of topsoil and the fact that it rains”. That illustrates the fact that we survive in an environment that is both fragile and resilient, It also provides those who seek to understand its’ mysteries a world of entertainment.
Thousands and thousands of symbiotic relationships occur in nature every day. It does not matter if it is hot or cold, wet or dry, dark or light, nature continues on. The environment is open seven days a week twenty fours a day. Feel free to go out and see what interaction you might find.