Friday, June 29, 2012

Bee Minus: The Backyard Bee Count

Do you remember my previous post about the Backyard Bee Count as I mentioned here.  I planted Lemon Queen, an exquisite pale lemon sunflower and one of my favorites.  Last year it was a bee magnet; this year, I'm sad to report that I've not had ONE bee visit.  20 feet away on my cucumber flowers, I've seen one or two carpenter bees...but that's it!  Sad for sure and the rest of my garden is suffering...few tomatoes and no squash.  I may try to plant another crop of sunflowers and see if our bee comes a little later in the season.

Luckily for us, though, someone's having a lot of luck with their garden!  Marie brought me a ton of canned goods after she left the farmers' market this weekend.  Blueberry Ginger Jam, Squash Pickles, and Blackberry Spiced Jam (my favorite!).  I can't believe she had any left from the market, it's now at the shop unless I consume it all...which, possible!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Reading: The Creative Entrepreneur Chapter 2

Last week, I unrolled our 2nd annual Summer book club!  This year I wanted to pick The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam as I've not been in the right place to travel down this road for a few years.  Right now seems perfect as I find myself with enough business experience to look back and evaluate with a wide open road ahead with many paths to choose.

Chapter Two, part one, focuses on building a Mandala; I know it sounds terribly hippy-dippy but honestly, it's just a flower that you write on the petals...not scary, people...I promise.  In each petal, we explore topics that help define our own contributions we make, i.e. why we work and then we get into the nitty gritty of managerial tools and leadership skills (creatives usually lag in these skill sets - and I am no different).

So what were my biggest revelations?  Other than YES, I need to be more disciplined and refine my time management; I shocked myself by writing "I like there to be a PROCESS more than a RESULT".  Maybe, this is why creatives never finish anything?  But the fun for me is creating; don't get me wrong, it's a great validation for someone to purchase my work but the process is gold.  I also, repeatedly remarked how much I need time off...or away from the churn of producing and producing and producing...  I need to stop and fill the well creatively to envision new ideas and work.

Part two, asked that you identify mentors...these could be anyone from idols to your next door neighbor.  Beam asked that you write a fictional letter to them and then respond as they would.  I did a similar exercise in college and thought it to be a pointless and almost made me feel as if I had a split personality.  I did lay out all the reasons I admired each person and then highlighted the commonalities.  Most people had this amazing work/ life blend, they create meaningful work with exceptional craftsmanship and each had a book or two they had authored.  All things I am work towards.

If you are joining in, next week is Chapter 3.  I will break this into two parts since it is pretty meaty.  Stop at page 59 and meet back here Monday for my latest digest.

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Road Trip: Jackson, MS

A couple weeks ago C and I were lucky to get away and attend the Mississippi Market, a wholesale show that exclusively shows State made products.  We like it; it's close, always has something unique and fits in well with our regionally-made philosophy for the shop.  This show didn't disappoint; we snapped up some fun things for the holidays, a new candle line and our favorite...yard art!

It was an order only show, which means you can't take it with you.  This wasn't our first rodeo though, so we knew we could "help" vendors tear down after the show closed and have this precious little guy in the shop stat.  With time to kill until the show ended, I googled thrift shops in Jackson, MS.  Links kept popping up about if you tell anyone in Louisiana you went "Nuts in Jackson" it means something TOTALLY different.  In Mississippi, it's actually a pretty awesome thrift shop that goes on for days!

I scored a bunch of vintage fabric and notions, including this cute guy for 5 cents:

And back at the Trade Mart, we found the most unusual plant just growing alone in an abandoned flower bed.

I texted my mom a picture - she's a master gardener and had no idea.  I left it alone and googled it later that night when we got home...I think I use "plant with prickly puffy pods".  Turns out its a Swan Plant, native to Africa...a member of the milkweed family and delicious to butterfly caterpillars.  I was so bummed I didn't grab a seed pod!  I guess there is always next year!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Reading: The Creative Entrepreneur

This week Summer officially begins and I'm going to be disciplined and work through Lisa Sonora Beam's workbook, The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real.  It was gifted to me awhile back during my recovery and it just wasn't feasible to focus on moving my business forward when it was hard enough to just get out of bed.   Now that I'm healthy I can take this on, which comes at a good time as my energy has returned but I'm feeling a bit directionless.  Never have I not had a plan (I know, double negative -- dramatic effect!).  So if you would like to see where I end up going or explore this for yourself, meet me back here on Mondays ('s the internet.  join in on your own time; I'll be waiting.)

So, to begin, Chapter One ask you to gather your supplies.  Beam suggest using the good stuff to reinforce that this is important work.  She cautions, though, not to spend all your time on preparing and miss out on the actual work.  Off you go...

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Friday, June 15, 2012

British Invasion

Somewhere between Flavia de Luce novels and Downton Abbey, I lay blame for my renewed adoration in all things English. And then of course, there was the Diamond Jubilee this month and soon the Olympics in's so exciting, I've adopted a tea time ritual at the shop most evenings. Pausing over tea, I've realized quite a few projects this year have been inspired by these events. My popular Downton Abbey cross stitch pattern, released a few months back might be my favorite. Not far behind, is my Union Jack Pillow...this one I made for myself; I have some tweaking to do before I release it for sale in the shop. My newest favorite, though, is a one of a kind tote. I had the luck to find a vintage fabric embroidered with a whimsical London street scene including Big Ben, a double decker bus and Buckingham Palace gates. I added some lovely bead work to the front and sewed into a useable bag.

What are you doing to celebrate the latest British Invasion?

--Lisa LeBlanc

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

This is a new weekly series (one I saw on another blog I favor and thought it was brilliant).  Most every Wednesday I will post a picture from the past week.  There will be no description; just a jumping point to start the conversation here or within you.  I will link all of these images in the Wordless Wednesday set on my Flickr for future reference.  Enjoy!

--Lisa LeBlanc

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