Friday, September 19, 2014

traveling with SDAJ--- show opportunity and downtown in Wellsboro, Pa. Tioga County

Wellsboro is such a gorgeous community, still holding on to their small town main street retail, specialty shoppes and restaurants.
This past weekend my dh and I traveled to Tioga county around 2.5 hours from where we live in Elk County to this lovely town for a small venue.

SDAJ was at the Penn Wells Hotel in Wellsboro, Pa. for a Pennsylvania Wilds Artisan Trails showing for the Pennsylvania Forestry Associations 128th annual dinner--- YES their organization's 128th! 

At this wonderfully preserved Hotel a small sampling of PA Wilds Artisans were invited including  juried artisan Snuffy Destefano of Ridgway, Pa. with his burl bowls and SDAJ.

We also booked a room staying in this lovely landmark.  


taken from the website

The Penn Wells Hotel, built in 1869, is one of Wellsboro’s most historic landmarks. The current building, which was restored in the 1920s, has 73 character-filled guest rooms of varying sizes and types. Our elegant Lobby and Mary Wells Dining Room transport guests to a bygone era where welcoming staff and friendly locals remain the norm. The cozy and inviting full-service Lounge sits adjacent to the Hotel lobby and offers a full selection of classic cocktails, beer and wine. With live music every Friday night, a drink or a bite to eat at the Lounge is a great way to wind down after a busy day of travel, recreation or business.


lobby of the Penn-Wells Hotel sporting two PA Wilds juried artisans from Elk County

My work and hand-created easels used also at trail
stops to showcase jewelry keeping the same feel at each retail space

My husband Herb, Snuffy, Cheryl and I had a great time socializing with the Pennsylvania Forestry Association as well as being invited to dine with them in the Mary Wells dining room and Ta Brant Enos, who is our ombudsman plus keynote speaker for the evening.

Mary Well's Dining room

I fell in love with a few of the older gentlemen, with their beautiful stories, one could not help it. There were so many knowledgeable and charming individuals to meet and greet throughout the evening, it was a lovely opportunity with sales to boot!

promo mosaic :) :)
That night Herb and I visited a couple late night spots enjoying the locals and a band or two with then still getting up fairly early for breakfast.  The last time the family was here, shopping and sight seeing, the diner was too packed with no seating available.  We lucked out this trip slipping in before church let out allowing us to get a sweet table up front by the grill. Of course you all know that the grill is where all the action takes place.

breakfast at the Wellsboro Diner
Being a very visual person myself, I can not imagine preparing food tickets by listening to the wait staff reading each one to me one after the other.  I truly don't think she made any mistakes using this method, funstuff.

to the point menu, simple, a few of their own specialties 

from where we were sitting by the front door
flannel clad locals at the counter

from the back of diner
love finding parts of our past or grandparent's past especially, still holding their own
* I found her and family last Sunday at the
on one of her many WILDS seeking weekend traveling destinations

More buyer's markets and artisan venue opportunities will continue to be available through out the region. 

 Follow the WILD'S events and such on the PA Wilds Artisan Trail

 PA Wilds Artisan's Facebook Page 

and PA Wild's Resource Center  

If you are lucky enough to see Ta out and about, she is very approachable and loves to chat about our artisans and the Trail's goings on. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Traveling with SDAJ---- Potter County Artisan Center

While participating in a show at the Penn Wells Hotel in Wellsboro for the Pennsylvania Forestry Commission, we also had a chance to visit other PA Wilds trail stops on the trip home Sunday of last weekend.
227 North Main Street, Coudersport, Pa. is where you will find the Potter County Artisan Center

Doug Firestone of owner/operator of Firestone Forge located in
Germania, Pa. part of the PA Wilds Artisan Trail
President of the Board for the Potter County Visitor Association, Doug Firestone, was very instrumental in setting the plan in motion for PCAC.  Firestone, an artisan himself, understands how important a center such as this would be in not only revenue for PCVA but, in turn teach artists how to be knowledgeable in all facets of the work from social media promotion to book work. 

    "Last fall we relocated our office to the building we are now in, the Penn-York building. With the additional space we decided to start the artisan co-op.
     We are teaching them business practices, they put their time into the store, and assist in every part of the business. We have a management committee, a promo/marketing committee, and also a facilities committee. We basically allow them to make the decisions with a little guidance from us. It was also created to try to help the downtown, Coudersport, by attracting artisans to create their own businesses in the downtown," says Firestone.

Other board members were part of the decision making including Dave Brooks executive director and Allison Brooks communication manager of Potter County Visitor Association with also 40 locals attending to talk and brainstorm late January..  

excerpted from-  an original article appearing  in the Potter Leader Enterprise, Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The goal of the Artisan Center is to exhibit the wonderful talent in the region and provide an opportunity for area artisans to display and sell a wide variety of unique products. The center will host a variety of locally made products: jewelry, paintings, herbal products, accessories, photography, garden and yard art, wood and metal works, locally produced foods and more. The artisans themselves will staff the center, so customers can meet the people who created the items they purchase. 
David Brooks, executive director of PCVA, said that everyone involved is excited and optimistic about the prospects of the center. “Ever since the center [based on a similar plan] opened in Emporium, we’ve been wanting to do this. We’ve been looking for a building where we could make this happen for about six or seven years. We’re just happy to have the opportunity to finally do it.”
PCVA and the Chamber moved into their new location last fall. By sharing the building space and expenses, both entities are able to enjoy a better location with very little increase in cost.

Elaine Russel, curator and on the management committee, was tending the gallery the day we were there.  In the above photo she is at her creatively fabulous display.
From the PCAC website:
Whether beading a prayer mala, cutting envelopes from old book pages, or photographing scenic Potter County... Elaine Russell glories in the world around her. A professional photographer since 1986, her work has been published in magazines, books, used in advertising, showcased in galleries... and collected across the country. 
As a fine art jewelry fabricator, she has been striving for excellence since 1995, specializing in prayer beads of all faiths and sterling wrapped gemstones.  And as a mixed media artist... she has found new life for recycled and salvaged goods since 2005.
Wife, mother, and retired nurse; Elaine grew up in Coudersport... and after traveling cross country for 20yrs... she is happy to be back home.
Elaine has written a daily blog since 2008; which you can see at
You can contact her at 
or through her Etsy store:

Elaine gave me an update on their artist count to date, which is 29.  With the Center's grand opening April of this year, that number is very impressive!
Here are some displays at the artisan center, from the back entrance.  I love those lockers!
Public Art, as in this mural you see above, on the Potter County Artisan Center building, can be found all across the 12.5 county region known as the Pennsylvania Wilds along the artisan trail.

\\\Please click on any of those links above for more information about all the amazing artisans, trail stops and public art in this region of the state.  You will not be disappointed!

Thank-you Elaine and Doug for all of your help on this post!  You two are such assets.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Garden Studio- Getting Started on Paper

Out growing a dedicated studio is frustrating but, also rewarding.  The rewarding part comes from all the knowledge gained over the years, that then also leads back to lack of space with equipment and bench tools gained, filling in the small space... making it crazy frustrating to work in.

November 2013 was the last blog update about the space and where we were heading. and are super when experimenting with rearranging your room and identifying stations

A free design program from was used to help out with space allowance and placement with worktables, benches, etc. and then for labeling.  I don't know about you but, I am very visual.

The conversation area set up, on the right of the plans, will be a nice touch for now but, is also interchangeable depending on event or need.  The patio is definitely an exciting detail bridging from studio to garden, with it also being a great seasonal addition.   You can see on the left a little entryway by the sink that is street side allowing clients a separate entry and bottom of plans where the door to our kitchen  leads also to the downstairs bathroom area.

This floor plan accommodates students and events from the PA Wilds Artisan Trail and other events that I missed out on the last few years due to a smaller studio which makes me sad...

"Good things come to those who wait" 
according to Heinz and Guinness : - )

Friday, July 25, 2014

Simple recipes- Home-made Ketchup

Making something tasty does not have to be an ordeal. Being able to throw a few ingredients together, we already have on hand, for America's 2nd most popular condiment with mayonnaise ranking one and soy sauce coming in 3rd---- is pretty terrific.  

Wee piles of spices, starting at the top:   cloves, allspice, cinnamon, cayenne and dry mustard.  Yellow dried dates are a good source of calcium, vitamin C and  fiber with also adding a deep almost caramel note to your recipe.

Using the Vitamix is perfect for pulverizing dried yellow dates, if you don't have a good blender omit the dates.

taste tasted :-)
This recipe can be a base for other variations such as a jalapeno ketchup, mango ketchup with thyme, Chipotle ketchup, Masala ketchup, sun-dried tomato ketchup with basil and also Molasses, of course....wait for it- KETCHUP.
Dried herbs, different mustard, sugars, vinegar, dried fruits such as raisins or figs thrown in to mix it up or to treat it as a specific meat accompaniment for pork, beef and chicken.  

Well that was fun!  Thanks for taking a look at my adventures in ketchup this summer!  Next I put garlic, herbs and lemon juice under the knife.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Garden Studio: July Studio Tour 2014

inside the studio for July 2014
Well made tools make all the difference on the bench which creates less fatigue for the artisan and assists in quality craftsmanship when it comes to the work. Why fill your studio with tools that you aren't physically comfortable using or that need replaced in a short span of time.  One statement my Father made to me, at an early age, was not to scrimp on tools or quality when it comes to food.

left corner metal forming tools, etc.

super little multi-functional German made Proxxon vise and the Crafted Findings Riveting System
choosing stones for new pendants on the workbench where the flexshaft tool systems and Wolf Belt sander live

I have not invested in the Foredom top shelf system but, have the Grobet and Prodigy .  The one is dedicated to the Wolf belt sander while the other is hanging from the ceiling by a small bungy cord allowing me to use it while wheeling around  from bench to bench in the small studio :)
part of the Pepe jumpring maker for winding wire

little sander is a super time saver when prepping ear-wire ends, deburring blanks and polishing 
This super useful 6 inch square bench block is from Romazone located on Etsy and is for sure a great addition to the bench.  I cannot seem to metal-stamp or hammer texture with out it.  The small 3 inch blocks are very nice but, I find the larger working space indispensable. 
a few tools on the cabinet door older saw, kitchen knife sharpener and ring sizer
some wire
Alexandra font stamps and some smaller Arial fonts stamps
view from the vise/sawing station on the right of studio
catching up on another Joy the Baker podcast with Joy the Baker and Tracy Benjamin 
The stations are all fused together, stamps on the sawing area, just crazy, lol
Tools are with us in what ever trips your trigger including cooking, hiking, photography or camping.

What have you found useful while #savingsummer this year?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Small Things: Elly and the crazy little pug she is missing

During the Summer, when the oldest Grandchild comes to visit, is a such a super special time.  Lots of Elly time on the big porch are a give in. Porch time includes bringing out toys from when our girls were growing up to all day just kickin' it snuggled in the hammock.  Legos, Tinker Toys, wood blocks, Lincoln Logs, old Disney story cassettes and my youngest's horse collection to name a few her favorites.  On this day she was especially missing her pug, Potato.  
Yayyyy for Pugs with wagging tongues!
Creating a 'mini me' with this little bean bag pup was a no-brainer for you can't miss Potato's leathery weathered tongue each and every time you come upon him morning, noon or night there it is, lol.
Awhile back, at a Church sale, a stack of Woolrich samples made it into my sewing stash.  That reddish stripe, on the Hudson Bay blanket samples, was a perfect match.
Just a quick outline with a Sharpie marker on that stripe and cut--- we were ready to sew.  After coming up through a seam on his underside with thread, turning under the the felt edge to then place against the right hand side of the mouth and a few quick stitches he is her beloved Potato.  Before going back down through to tie the thread off, a baseball stitch was then bordered around giving more play-ability to the piece plus a realistic appearance to that tongue.

swinging after puzzles with ME

I am baffled... where did this Summer go!!!

What small creative projects have you come up with lately?

Friday, June 06, 2014

This Year's Porch

I have been obsessing ever since purchasing Behr Deckover a month back for our wrap around porch.  It is a fairly new product, just coming on the market last year, so the negative reviews did not start rolling in until after we purchased 2-5 gallon buckets for the over 600 square foot of porch.
 Decided to just go for it starting with the porch 'stuff' move out in the back.  Here shot from the screen porch.
Shot from the studio towards the garden.  Lol, I don't know...just found it cool to have it all on the lawn.
Cutting in and filling large cracks or screw holes.  Tameryn and Thea did quite a bit of painting, especially Tameryn. Those railings were painted also from a sage green to a bright, clean white.  A pressure washer worked out great too for all the steps in this process including washing all that old vinyl siding from the mid 80's.  
 First coat after letting it dry and then the second 4-6 hours later.  It was a beautiful day to paint, painting until 9 pm.
The curing takes 72 hours before any major walking and also decorating of course.  It rained 2 days later making the paint seem spongy to me, dh said I was over obsessing to just move everything on if I wanted.... I did wait until later that day to start with putting on the Reversible Rugs, letting it dry a bit more and then the rest of what you see.

2013 showing a brown stain used originally and sage green railings.  The stain did last for quite sometime painting it in 2010 with only some chipping on the ends after the railing edge.  
The Desert Sand really brightened up the space, which was a welcome change from that dark brown shown here.

This morning's sun casting some great shadows on the newly painted decking boards.  The anti-gravity chairs seen here are for this summer's camping trips but, can live here for now for I am rather enjoying this more modern arrangement.
 Larger view from steps that lead to the back garden with my 4 year Bay tree and brightly painted Adirondack chairs.
After cleaning out and organizing a spare bedroom for the Granddaughter's summer visit, this outdoor checker set, my Mom bought the girls quite a few years back was found.  Hoot, hoot!
 Morning shots this am.  We wanted to have it all finished for Elly's visit this month.  She does love that hammock, porch swing, the hummingbird feeders and bright green Adirondack chair where she eats her mint chip ice cream during those super summer visits with the Grandparents.

We will see how the Behr Deckover withstands us and our Pennsylvania winters.  Fingers crossed....X
What is on your porch?   I love the quaint sign I just saw on Pinterest that goes, 

Here in the South we don't hide crazy... We parade it on the front porch and give it a sweet tea.  


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