Sunday, 17 June 2012

Max in Paradise, Freezer Jam, New Chokers & Cleaning Up My Market Table

I bought two more hanging baskets of gorgeous flowers yesterday at the market. I suppose I really should stop but why? I love flowers and these are stunning. I will remember to get the name of Boris's greenhouse in the Niagara area one of these days... but everyone who's bought anything from him, including cut flowers, has raved about their lushness, health and longevity.

'Tis also my favourite season beginning last Thursday: the first local strawberries arrived at the Thursday downtown outdoor market (I don't do that market anymore, but I happened to be in town so I dropped by). I got to the market late and only got one pint of berries. I ate some and made two jars of freezer jam with them. Last Saturday, the strawberries weren't too nice, but made jam anyway, and last night I made a batch of four jars that were sweet and succulent. I am addicted to this stuff. I now make 100 or more jars or more every summer, strawberry, rhubarb, cherry and black raspberry. If people invite me for dinner I usually take a few jars, and I give them to my friends, too. I make it with lots of lemon juice, very little sugar (1-1/2 to a scant 3 soup spoons' worth) and powdered low-sugar pectin. I have a small black raspberry patch growing wild by the door here, about 2' x 6' and last year I got way more than 25 jars of jam out of it with plenty to eat with yogourt and on cereal. 

The bushes are situated in a heat trap. We've had rain at just the right times this spring and recently and this is the lushest I've seen these berries.

Black raspberry bushes...

Four of this year's strawberry jam jars...

Max waiting patiently for his cookies -- yikes, I'm 45 minutes late with them...

And now back to work...
Here are the choker and bracelet I made and sold yesterday at the market:

Matte jet heishi, copper beads and "Tibetan Silver"-style silver-plated beads threaded onto 1.5mm black Greek leather. I never made it to Toronto on Friday after all -- cripes, I'm swamped all of a sudden with typing that will keep me pounding the keyboard until the end of June, if not into July -- and I must go back to Arton after the beginning of July because these silver-plated ones are great-looking beads, particularly those small ones, and I am now already pretty much out of them. I bought one skein of 1.5mm black Greek leather from Bamiyan when I was there, and I am finding it tremendously useful. My customer said that the chokers sit very nicely without being bulky or stiff, like the 2mm does, and the bracelet has a nice firmness to it, not floppy the way cheap leather behaves.

Now to my table. I'm in the midst of a major tweak and tidying up with the help of Lynn from Imogene's, a genius at merchandising. I've always been impressed by the way she displays my stuff in the store, and asked if she would help rearrange my table to maximum effect.

The main problem being where I am -- in a farmer's market -- is the visual "noise" of the background competing with the visual mayhem residing on my table. I have things hanging from the grid, but there's so much light coming through and what with being able to see all the other stuff going on, it's definitely very confusing. Unfortunately, I can't drape a cloth behind the grid to set off the stones and necklaces because I need to be able to see what's going on on the table. I already feel like I'm in a cage, but it's such a useful thing to have, especially since I don't have a back wall I could use.

This is the left half of the table top, what it "really" looks like:

A more dramatically lit view of the left side of the table top:

The right side of the table top, regular lighting:

The right side, dramatically lit:

New centre display that will feature sale items each week:

Centre display, to better show the colours: 

Cleaning up the back grid, the pewter has been moved to the top, and the seed bead necklaces are now hanging from a curtain rod. I can see what's starting to jump out and look interesting, and what's just a jumble. The plan is to get more hangers that stick out like the one where all the long seed bead necklaces are hanging from on the left, and I'll be able to display way more items such that they can all be seen easily, rather than as they are now, hanging undifferentiated along the grid on the rods.

Closeup of the seedbead necklaces on the rods -- they almost completely disappear.

I've ordered new display boards and they will all be about 6 inches taller and some will be a bit wider. That will be the next project to tackle -- rearranging in a more logical fashion all the pendants and earrings that are currently displayed on boards.

Thanks for looking!

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