Baby, it’s Cold out there -or- Overwintering the Succulent Friends

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I really do love winter. My friends tell me I get all happy and lively when the temperature drops. I prefer to think that the heavy mantle of summer has been lifted, and the ‘real’ me emerges from beneath it like the moon emerging from a misty haze. Whatever metaphore, I’m afraid it’s true. I am just not cut out for enjoying a hot climate like the one I find myself living in currently.

That being said, I’m afraid my little plant friends will disagree. They can handle the cold pretty well, for a time, but will show signs of unhappiness if left too long in the cold. Frost is really not high on their list of showy coatings either. So if you have purchased any of our succulents planted in hypertufa, and you live in North Texas, do please consider bringing them in until the temps return to less than arctic. Here are some groupings I’ve made of the many small ones we had in stock at the end of show season in December. Don’t they look cute all grouped up in the living room, along the wall, and in the kitchen? The cats have fun lurking around in them (yes, on the counter…sigh) and playing like they are tiny lions in the jungle.

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And then there was also Jewelry…

three rings one mold

As so often occurs in the life of many a poor soul, one often suffers the vicissitudes of personal climate change. I don’t know why I felt compelled to share this, but probably because I’m looking to create waves in my own life in 2013 (the good kind, not the destructive tsunami type) that I’m looking back on where I’ve been. As mentioned in a recent Advocate article, I do in fact have a varied (and some might say shady) past including such avocations as jewelry designer, fund raiser, cookie baker,executive assistant, toilet cleaner, and international spy. Guess which one is not true. Shouldn’t be too hard. Then again, if you just exchange the word ‘fund’ for ‘heck,’ then you’d also have a correct answer.

At any rate, I was just reading a post from one of my jewelry loving, rant-obsessed compatriots living in New York who really had a great way with words (not to mention gemstones), http://www.delivermediamonds.com, and it reminded me that once upon a time – oh about 15 years ago – I too made some pretty kick-ass jewelry! I was super proud of these rings, because they got some exposure in a cool store down in Soho. They were carved from a piece of heavy green wax and cast by a small family casting firm on 30th street. I don’t think I kept any, which is a shame, but I do still have the rubber mold…. so am thinking this might be a clue as to where the new year might take me!

Advocating for Local Businesses is why we love the Advocate!

 We couldn’t be more humbled and pleased by our mention in the recently released December edition of the Advocate Magazine (East Dallas), mainly because we have so much respect and love for the publication.  They always do such a great job of supporting local businesses and highlighting our neighbors that it makes us even more happy and proud to call east Dallas home.  Here’s the mention:

Chris Unruh, One Fish Two Fish (and Steve Dickson)

Gift idea: potted plants
Price range:
$12-$45
Where to find it:
trulyunruhly.wordpress.com, craft shows

ED Chris Unruhdip 2012 Holiday gift guide

Chris Unruh Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Chris Unruh is experimenting with doll heads these days.

Some people don’t really get it, she says. But when she uses them to mold cement heads, which she then hollows out and plants succulents inside, some people love them.

Unruh, who went to FIT and designed jewelry in New York for five years, discovered hypertufa, a porous material made of Portland cement, peat moss and either pearlite or aragonite, on a road trip in March 2010. She was on the way to her grandmother’s funeral and reading her stepmom’s Better Homes and Gardens magazine when she found a story about the stuff. The cement mixture is great for growing plants.

Aside from doll heads, Unruh uses yogurt cups and found Styrofoam forms to make hypertufa planters.

“I get excited about trash the way some people get excited about chandeliers,” she says, pulling pieces of Styrofoam from a bin.

Unruh’s company, One Fish Two Fish, sells online, and she is at craft fairs and shows at least two weekends a month. Some of her designs are smooth and geometric; others are rough and rustic. She uses found auto glass as sparkly mulch for the plants.

“This glass came from a wreck on Garland Road,” she says.

Unruh credits her husband, Steve Dickson, for hauling around untold hundreds of pounds of Portland cement. They were married two years ago, and Unruh works part-time for her husband’s structural engineering firm. She also sells her handmade jewelry at etsy.com/shop/trulyunruhly.

Every day should be a fiesta!

Am I right, folks?  Would it be so bad to wake up and find your living room sparkling from top to bottom with shiny banners and glittering flowers, all lighted up with tiny (or giant) Christmas lights?  That’s just *another* one of many things I love about the Mexican influence, as one finds in these two far-flung locations:  Mi Tierra Restaurant and Panaderia, in the Mercado in San Antonio TX; or off the plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Yes, I can see bedazzling my home like this… but I have a feeling we all might get headaches from the sheer joy of straining our necks looking up all day.  So, I will settle for visiting these spaces when I get the time to travel there.  sigh….

These pinatas grace the ceiling of the panaderia at Mi Tierra…

And these white lights glimmer among golden banners to create a glow that lights up the faces of diners. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is this just joyful and lovely?  Why not swath your front door in a colorful blanket flowing out of glitter-dusted fake flowers, metalic stars, and sky-blue ostrich feathers?   I mean, I guess the real question is… why not?

And then, there is a long passel of old hand-decorated Christmas balls that sent me over the top in a candy store in Santa Fe.  Apparently, much like Mi Tierra, this place stays festive all the year long.  That might explain why the balls look a bit dusty and worse for wear, but you can see that they were lovingly crafted a good many years ago and therefore make me happy.  Am I now inspired to do some Christmas crafting?  Probably!!

Mud pies with a side of succulent

So, I capitulated to the really nice ladies at the church I attend to do some volunteer work… namely to teach the kiddos at summer camp how to make hypertufa pots.  This seemed fairly straightforward at first – and I had such high hopes of explaining to the older ones how concrete worked and why it was important to society as we know it (including how the molecules reacted to water and how adding inert dessicants helped to keep it lightweight)…. buuuuut remarkably, they lost interest in all of that!  Can you believe it?!  Here’s some of the cute little pots they did however manage to make, despite my lack of imparting any real scientific info on the inner workings of the remarkable concrete molecules. 

Separation Anxiety

I am not sure if the reason I don’t have kids is because I have arts/crafts or the other way around.  I’ve heard it said that making stuff is generating a similar type of creative force… creating something instead of someone.. but surely when there is love involved in the process, one feels a certain sentimental pull towards that creation.  So it’s completely understandable that sometimes I feel a need to memorialize the moment when a certain item passes out of my hands in to another’s… like this ring I made back in the 90’s when I was trying very hard to ‘make it’ as a jewelry designer in NY. 

I still have the mold for it, but this is the only one I had cast up so far.  The nice hipster  kids that bought it were so cute and they seemed so in love; when he tried it on and her face lit up, I thought, ‘yup!’  It just fit him perfectly, and seemed like an omen that they should be together.  I hope I’m not hexing anything by saying so, but if they should read this, I do hope they stay together.  They are adorable. (of course they did look a little puzzled when I asked to take that picture, since I probably did act a little weird.)

What is the nature of ‘natural’?

Concern over the recent debate over Winfrey Point vs the Arboretum has me wondering alot of things.  Public vs private – who wins when natural land is lost forever; Transparency of government versus covert backroom dealings;  the overuse of Imminent Domain on long-established local small businesses…  and most importantly, how ironic it is that the most respected and idyllic example of “nature” at it’s finest, the Dallas Arboretum, is pitting itself agains supporters of a more homespun form of nature.  So what is natural? This….

or this?

let’s continue the comparisons;  What about this?

or this?

Photo by Justin Terveen