Friday, May 30, 2008

Snowballs in May

It's my favorite time of year around the old Pomegranate homestead. After a lot of brown in winter (brown lawn, brown dirt, branches, and twigs against the brown wood siding), this is our reward: snowball trees, lilacs, crabapples. Thousands of birds. And our duck families. Come by and see it all. You can even take a snippet or two of the gorgeous blooms if you wish -- they're almost at the end of the show anyway. The snowballs don't last that long once they're in a container, but I just remembered something. I once apprenticed myself out to a great floral designer, and we were doing lots of arrangements with hydrangeas. She would dip the cut ends in alum to help them last... and these snowballs look to me like a cousin to the hydrangea. But what do I know?

Next to come are the glorious wild yellow roses. We think they're called Harrison Yellow, and several people have told us that they originally came to Oregon with the early pioneers. They absolutely explode around our shop in a profusion of tiny yellow roses. I love how wild and untamed they are. They also have wicked little thorns, which may keep the critters away, too. You are most welcome to come take a cutting of the roses, but don't be disappointed if it doesn't take. They are difficult to start, but once they're healthy and happy, there's no holding them back. We're at 120 NE River Mall Avenue in Bend, across from the north end of Macys.

Oh, and a postscript on the canal situation, which some of you have asked about. If you haven't explored our little homestead grounds, you might not know that a canal runs right behind it. It's lovely, and usually a good place to teach kids how to fish (right now the fish are really tiny, so we're not sure if the bigger ones are not getting beyond a screen, or?). As with all our canals in Bend, this one is due to be piped and covered up. But, the good news: it won't happen until next year. This may be the last summer to come and enjoy it: you can fish, paint, or picnic under the magnificent pines. Oh yeah. That's our next worry. The pine trees. We already give them deep watering in the summer, but once the canal is gone, we're going to have to really take measures to make sure they get enough water (the canal helps right now). Even though the property is not ours, we feel a total responsibility for keeping the trees healthy. Not sure if they could officially be classified as 'old growth' but they look like giants to me.

Bird note: the fauna population at Pomegranate is quite something. Robert feeds the birds and squirrels with a half and half mix of Premium Wild Bird and Wild Bird feed from Round Butte Seed. Squirrels eat the peanuts; the quail and doves like the corn; and the sparrows, finches, nuthatches, and ducks eat everything else. That's our secret formula, and all our babies love it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ze French Flea Market

Mes amis: Pomegranate's ninth season of hosting our fun and fabulous French Flea Markets starts on Saturday, June 7, 2008. For us, it's the official summer kick-off and is always way too much fun (as in, I put a little cash in my pocket and run around like the crazy shopping monkey that I am-- doesn't take much to make me happy).

Our historic homestead is the perfect place to host a flea market: vendors set up on the lawn and in the garden with all their goodies... tucked in under the pine trees. There's plenty of parking on the street or in the lot across from us, and best of all, we have so many good vendors (antique dealers, crafters, etc.) coming this season, from all over the state. We carefully choose each one of them and don't allow garage sale junk (you know, the abandoned exercise machines and lidless tupperware). What they do bring is fun and funky and wonderful, from vintage repurposed furniture to jewelry, linens, true french flea market finds, and fab little antique pieces. And more. Look at this adorable box I bought last summer, hand painted and decoupaged (even inside). I was going to use it in the shop to display little things, but cannot bear to give it up. It wanted to go home with me! The same clever artiste who made this will be here again this summer, and I can't wait to see what she's come up with.

So here's how it works: we have three French Flea Markets set up this summer: June 7, July 19 (this one tied in with our Lavender Festival), and August 23, Saturdays from 10-4. Bring mad money, and get there as quick as you can for pick of the best. Some stuff gets sold within minutes... and some of our vendors have so much that they keep bringing out new goodies all afternoon.

This is where we are, in case you don't know: on River Mall Avenue, across from the north end of Macy's, in the old homestead buildings. Turn at the light on River Mall Ave. when you get to I-HOP and the 76 station -- we're down a block or so. By the way, we're also celebrating our tenth anniversary in business there this summer. Ten years! What happened? How did we do it? Stop by for a schedule of events to see what we're up to. We're planning a great celebration...

Au revoir... see you at the Marché aux Puces!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Shopping Advice for Those Weary of Economic Doom Sayers

First, two disclaimers. I'm not trying to be glib or dismissive of the current state of the economy (it's real and we're in the same scary boat as everyone else). And, we have two shops here in Bend, so of course I want you to come find lovely things here (as opposed to zooming the internet or totally putting the brakes on). So, yes, I'm completely biased and shamelessly promoting our little Pomegranates, but even without all that, this would still be my modus operandi:

Buy good things that last and make you happy, and forget the bargain basement junk you can't pass up just because it's cheap. With the latter, you just end up with a bunch of 'stuff' that will eventually make its way to your garage sale. You might end up spending more on it anyway, and then lose again when you give it away at the g-sale. Buy classics and hold onto them.

I was thinking about all this when we got our new Bella Notte bedding shipment in the other day. It's just my all-time favorite bedding, ever. After ten years in business, we've seen just about everything in textiles, from cheapo, scratchy bed-in-a-bag junk, to waaay over the top glitzy, formal, dry clean only custom stuff. Bella Notte is the only company I know of that makes everything in the US, offers their hand-dyed fabrics in 20 or so gorgeous color palettes, and is all machine washable. The hand on these fabrics is just wonderful, from simple linens to silk velvets. It's not inexpensive (but not even close in price to some of the other high-end lines). But here's the thing: you keep washing it and putting it back on the bed, and it gets softer and even more beautiful with time. You keep it and cherish it, and love every evening when you slip into your extremely comfortable and cozy bed (ahhhh, the best part of the day, no?). You can start small, with a coverlet or duvet and pillowcases maybe. Add some shams later, to add color or texture. Fun thing is, you can get so many different looks with Bella: romantic and soft, modern and simple, or satiny luxury. Doesn't matter if the dogs jump on it, or the kid decides to upchuck, because it's all designed for a wash and wear life. Newest fabrics are Diamond Jacquard, which is 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton (love it), and Celeste (85% hemp, 15% silk). Gorgeous. I'm also a big fan of pure linen. Yes, it can get a little wrinkly, but if you damp dry it and shake it out before and after drying, it will be pretty good. I just got a new toy: a steamer called Tobi, which is supposed to work really well on bedding. Will report back on its efficacy. Meanwhile, buy only the stuff you love, whether it's a "bargain" or not.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Please Put Your Butt in Your Pocket

Here's an invention idea, free for the taking.

Smoking doesn't bother me too much. Okay, maybe it does. But I'm not one of those people who make loud hacking sounds (as in, "yer killin' me!") when smoke drifts too closely.

What does irk me is the disposal problem of cigarette butts. At both of our stores, I am constantly battling the butt problem (in more ways than one, I’m sorry to say!). You’ll often see me on the sidewalk extracting ciggie butts with my Nifty Picker Upper wand claw thingie. Or pushing around my French street sweeper’s broom to get them into the gutter. Ugh. After a busy weekend there will be butts in the planters, butts on the sidewalk, and butts on the windowsills.

Having observed smokers putting out cigarettes, I realize that there is no easy way to dispose of the thing, other than flinging it on the street somewhere, or shoving it into the dirt of the nearest planter. So, here’s my product idea, with name development, free for the taking. The Butt Bagg. The Butt Protector. The Buttvelope. It’s a small, foil-lined gusseted envelope, maybe 1” x 2” with a sticky self-seal edge. You keep a supply in your pocket and deposit the butt in one when done. The foil part puts out the flame, you seal the end, then put it back in your pocket until you find a suitable garbage can to dispose of it all. Maybe not so environmentally friendly, but neither is throwing them on the street.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pasha Style

This lovely portico is part of Doris Duke's "Shangri-La" estate in Honolulu (open for small group tours), an amazing and inspiring place we visited last month. On a world-wide, whirlwind honeymoon tour in the 1930s, she fell in love with Islamic mosaics and art, and designed this, her favorite estate around it. We were so taken with the designs, colors, geometrics of it all. Couldn't take photos inside, so you'll just have to visit in person, or online at The estate is managed by the Honolulu Academy of Arts, a small gem of a museum, also highly recommended. Loved loved loved the modern art mixed in with the serene asian setting. Loved the buddhas in all their different forms, and was stunned by the gorgeous, modern lines of some of the asian pottery, most notably the Korean pieces that dated from 1,000 b.c. or so (maybe earlier?).

This month's "House Beautiful" features a house that uses some great pasha style on a covered porch and elsewhere. Oh, and my dream living room is in it, too. Right on the front cover. Yum. Except I would have chosen one of our slipcovered sofas at Pomegranate instead of the slightly sloppy, boxy one shown. How about the "Rachel" sofa slipcovered in the same, simple, creamy, washable linen? I'd leave the legs exposed for a tailored look. In fact, this IS our next sofa. I've got it all planned out... Check out our line at We're showing just a few chairs in our downtown shop, but can get any of the pieces for you, in a fabulous array of washable slipcovered (or upholstered) fabrics. Including pure linen in several colors. Believe in linen!