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Saturday, February 25, 2012


I was really excited to get my workshop catalogue from Sitka Center this week....Sitka is on Cascade Head (which is a protected area just north of Lincoln City that has one of the last of the spectacular native coastal meadows on it ) and they offer all kinds of workshops on art , writing, & natural history.  It's really fun to dream about all the different classes to take.  Paper embossing, nature journals, kayaking, and calligraphy were all the things I was interested in but what really got me excited was this writing class with Kim Stafford where we work on writing blessings.......which just seems completely out of left field for me....but that's the one that made my heart beat a little faster.  So I'm going to try and pay attention to that.
Click here to find out more about Sitka Center.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Contorted Filbert

I know I have mentioned before just how perfect and minimal and rustic and earthy and organic and just right using branches as decorative elements in the home is.  Like how this beautiful piece of contorted filbert enlivens this space without being overbearing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Still Life with Hyacinth

Sheesh I'm still tired from Valentine's Day and that was a week ago! Plus the pink hyacinth got left in the vase in the stairwell in my house way too long and it reminded me how much I like watching flowers in all their different phases.  How I like to keep flowers past their prime and see how they, in floral parlance, "perform".  I've learned some interesting things that way.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Some other things I thought Mr. Zebra Fish might like....science is geeky good right now....blackboards and chalk are in, vintage school rooms and the dunce's cap....we love this styled shoot from one of our favorite vendors and thought you would too.....
photo courtesy Spicher & Co

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Flowering Quince at Passionflower

Good things come to those who wait .  Or at least that's what I thought the expression was but I googled it and in fact the expression is "everything comes to him who waits"...OK, I'll take everything.  I am feeling inexplicably happy just about right now mere moments from when the quince will commence blooming. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Getting Up & Doing It All Over Again....

 It has been, as Becky would say, a little cray- cray around here....what with Valentine's Day and all, it's been  like riding a galloping horse through the most magnificent flower filled valley and us just managing to hang on...

and now, we're thinking about re-doing the jewelry cases.....seriously, it never ends...which is what I love about it.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sid Dickens at NYIGF

I had the pleasure of meeting Sid Dickens, he of the beautiful tiles, at the Gift Show in New York. We've  carried his work for a few years now at Passionflower but he generally isn't at the show so we've never met.  He was younger than I might have imagined and he seemed gentle and kind. 
  Sometimes meeting an artist can be a little disappointing....you've admired their work for so long but the person behind the work leaves you cold, or you realize they are snobs, or not as sharp as you might have imagined, or any one of a number of disappointments. Such was not the case here. Meeting Sid has made me more committed to the line than ever. One of his tiles would make a great Valentine Gift.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mexico on my Mind

And here's a little something I promise you can't be found at the New York Gift Show......photo of an old glassy eyed santos I saw stacked up with assorted religous statuary in the backroom or a church located down a dusty road in Mexico...As long as you have a passport, there's still time to sign up for the Oaxaca art journaling tour I'm organizing with Jill Cardinal.  Click here and go to arttripstomexico.blogspot.com and find out more.  Maybe a little Valentine's Gift from your sweetie. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

More Trendspotting at NYIGF

 And besides the whole neutral, mushroom colored, earthy organic thing we saw at the New York International Gift Fair, there was lots and lots of color.....most of it  bold primaries with splashes of orange....maybe great for Miami or a kid's room but it's nothing we can swing with here at Passionflower in the Pacific Northwest......which isn't to say we don't love color   ( and always have), it's just that we'll take ours a little toned down, a little cloudier and moodier.  Like these rich plum and violets with a touch or turqoise in the jewelry shown  above.

Or anything rich and saturated and in velvet like these spools of ribbon.

 And come May you'll be able to indulge in these brightly embroidered cotton kaftans at Passionflower.  We love color and you'll be seeing plenty of it at the store this year. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dispatches from the World of Design

 Okay I lifted the title of this post from the bloggers over at the New York International Gift Fair, because, well because I think it just sounded like it had so much authority.  And because I was just in New York at the show and wanted to share with you some photos of my favorite finds.  I couldn't be happier about the trend towards
earthy and organic because it is and always has been what we're about at Passionflower.

 Here's a great piece of jewelry I saw using shed antler that's been carved into a chain. 
Wow, how does he do that?

 The whole natural curiosities craze is going to be with us for a while.  For me, it's never gone out of style.

And then down every aisle in just about every nook and cranny were terrariums and succulents and glass.  Maybe I'm just seeing what I want to see, but I have to say, I'm so glad those days of high gloss lacquer and mod squad furnishings are over. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why I Love Being a Shopkeeper

There are those days when I envy all those smart etsy folks who have foregone the brick and mortar and get to stay home and bake bread while running their fabulously successful businesses,  and then I have to remember that the grass is always greener etc.... because home business can be a little isolating and that's what I love about brick and mortar.  I actually get to have a relationship with my customers and I get to know them and they constantly surprise me.  Take for instance, Mr. Zebra Fish, whom I have so named because once we got to talking it turns out he runs this ginormous zebra fish lab near the U of O.  And did you know that zebra fish are rapidly replacing mice and rats for scientific study?  I did not but this knowledge led us into an interesting discussion of why that might be.   As it turns out Mr. Zebra Fish (hereafter known as ZF) surprised me in more ways than one because I had him pegged as an 'out shopping with my girlfriend' kind of guy but as it turns out he was an 'out shopping for myself' kind of guy.  ZF as it turns out is into mid century modern.

And while Passionflower might not spring to top of mind for those on the mid century modern hunt, ZF has seen through the veil and remarked on how he likes to check us out periodically.  We think he'd dig the Roost Halo Chandelier (seen above).... and here's a couple of other things he might groove on:

Like some great Dwell Bedding or

a beautiful three legged Ethiopian stool.  Because Passionflower has always been about an earthy, organic, scientific, kind of aesthetic.  Just so happens that it works so well with so many different looks.  Thanks ZF for giving me some more insight into the Passionflower shopper.  

Forced Bulbs - Grape Hyacinth

We have the best little plants of forced grape hyacinth bulbs right now.  It's just the tiniest window when we have these, about a month, and they are the most charming harbingers of spring.....if you want a little preview of things to come.  Also highly fragrant and flowering jasmine rings never looked better.  I would say these are my two favorite plants in the store now......I'll be bringing a jasmine home and then planting it outside when it's done flowering.

Valentine's Day Cards at Passionflower

One of our all time favorite anytime of the year, bestselling card which we think is super fun for Valentine's Day too.  From our friends at Lucca Paperworks up in Seattle.  Check out their lovely Parisian inspired store if you find yourself up in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Supporting the Handmade

My hat is off to my neighbors at Oregon Art Supply.  I was purchasing a few goodies on a Sunday afternoon, some linen tape to mount some loose cyanotypes into a book  and a blue crayon to be exact, when lo and behold the staff pulled out a screen and a squeegee.  I couldn't quite figure out what they were doing.  It seemed kind of late to be starting a class on screenprinting. Who would have imagined that they were running low on bags and were getting ready to print a new batch?  How seriously cool is that in this day and age? Before I knew it, there were brown paper bags wtih fresh black ink spread out on the counters drying. "Perhaps I would like an original screenprinted bag to put my stuff in?" they asked.  "Well, yes, yes I think I would", I said.  I love it - an art supply store that makes it's own bags.  Note and a subtle hint to my staff - do not worry - I will not add 'hand screen our daily supply of bags'  to the morning checklist but wouldn't it be fun to do this?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Influence of Jane Packer

I make it a point to check in with Chelsea Fuss's blog Frolic on a regular basis. I love that it's straight from Portland and as soon as I figure out how to add it to my blogroll I will be doing just that and with a glowing tribute to just how genius I think she is.....But in the meantime I wanted to direct you to her blog because this is where I learned of the recent death of Jane Packer, an icon of floral design.  Click here to read Chelsea's very moving tribute to the difference one person can make in the world. 
And I feel compelled to add my voice to the many who have been deeply influenced by Ms Packer.  She was 52 (a year younger than me) when she died from complications from a stroke.  She married a deep love for flowers themselves and a british floral sensibility with a fashion forward sense of style and design.  Her shop (inside the first Terence Conran shop in NYC in the days before the high line) was where I first saw someone wrap the stems of an orchid with moss.....just sayin that was a long time ago and it has now become such a standard part of our repertoire at Passionflower (photo above) I can almost forget it 's origins.  But I remember that moment....I also remember she was using strips of black suede leather and pink crushed rock to dress up some other orchids (ha!).  Besides being a gifted designer, Jane Packer was also a teacher and an author who shared generously and gave to florists the world over.  Thank you Ms. Packer.  I shall be rereading your books and thinking of you every time I tie up an orchid with a sprig of moss.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Farewell my Lovelies

Let's just call it the end of an era but two of my beloved employees Tara Stanley and Lindsey Meyers are leaving the store.  Lindsey to have a baby (stay tuned for future post entitled 'It's a Girl') and Tara to put more energy into the home business she runs with her husband where they blow glass, sell vintage finds, and paint  pet portraits too. Sounds like a funny combination but it all seems to come together.  See more of what Brian & Tara do on their etsy site entitled  good phamily fun by clicking here.   We wish them all so much happiness in their futures and are deeply thankful for all the happiness they've brought to the store.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Objects of Desire with Rogene Manas & Bev Soasey

 Readers, I have been completely lax about letting you know we're having our Objects of Desire Show tonight......the artist's Bev Soasey & Rogene Manas are self curating a table of oddities and treasures......Read all about it and more on Rogene's art blog Out of my Mind by clicking here
Photo above courtesy Rogene Manas from her new piece entitled Your Play....

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Support Your Local Artist

   Eugene has been particularly blessed to have an artist of Bev Soasey's stature residing in our midst's.  Bev's output is extra-ordinary and she has graced our fair city with studio sales, gallery shows, and every now and then we've had some of her objets chez Passionflower....I remember stick birdhouses and copper hearts and more recently her self bound travel books of France & Italy have graced our shelves.  And now is one of those times when Bev is showing her work at the store.  We're super happy to be open late for First Friday tomorrow for our Objects of Desire Show which will be up for the weekend and showcase some of Bev's treasures.  

Come by on Friday night from 5 to 8 and meet Bev and find something wonderful for you or your Valentine.
All images courtesy Bev's fabulous site...beverlysoasey.com


 Did I mention how much I have been loving the hyacinth?  Never mind that they're named after an ancient Greek youth who was  beheaded by Zephyr, the west wind, while playing a game of discus.