Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Keine Quarken Vergnügen

It's against my nature to use expletives in a blog, so substituted (very possibly incorrect) German to express my frustration at installing a new version of Quark. It sounds angry enough. I do almost all our graphics for our shops, and for years I used an old version of PageMaker. It's all pretty primitive, if you're a more serious designer, but you know, that old PM was a workhorse that never let me down. Then we got our new Mac several years ago (only macintosh in this household: there can be no others). Bought Quark for it, because it was supposed to be a better page layout program. Turned out to be quirky and a bit buggy. But, you know, once you invest in it, you have to upgrade sooner or later; it's cheaper than starting over. So I bit the bullet yesterday and bought the upgrade online (buy Quark 7 and get version 8 for free! Yeah!). Hours later, with smoke coming out of my ears, I finally had it installed (but still not sure I got all the bits and pieces).

I had to fill out multiple forms with two different 13-character serial numbers. Had to sign in again and again, because it kept kicking me out. The clincher was having to enter a 47-digit 'validation code' that I had to write down on a piece of paper and then painstakingly reenter. 47 characters! My eyesight is not good enough to follow a string that long. Had to do it multiple times because if you get one little number or letter wrong, it won't go through. Du böse bube! I bin zehr gestrecht! I have no idea what that last bit means. I may have made it up, or it came up out of the memory ooze that remained after this exercise.

Oh yes. The Quark 8 for free? You get that by registering version 7 (just try to do it! ha ha ha), then clicking on a buried link to version 8. The 4pt. fine print (again, I need reading glasses on top of my tri-focals) tells you that after you pay $19.95 for shipping (huh?), you will receive version 8 sometime after October 15. Not even sure that went through, because it all went in circles for 15 minutes before I gave up. It's scheiße.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Way too much fun at the flea market

It was flea market junkie heaven at Pomegranate last Saturday. The quality and quantity of vendors and their finds were amazing, and we had a great turnout (gobs of people all day long, coming and going, traffic jams and cars parked all up and down our little side street). It's taken some years to get this event to the place it is now. At first we had to run around and pass out flyers and beg people to be a part of it, and now we've got vendors practically fighting for spaces and new ones signing up during markets for the next date. Pretty soon we'll have to start putting tents out by the canal and moving people out there...

Loved the mix of vintage, antique, repurposed, hand crafted, and original pieces. A big thank you to all our vendors and artistes who really notched it up this time. Oh yes, and can't forget our Lavender Festival, which was side by side to the flea market. Robert made the most wonderful lavender lemonade (recipe below -- unfortunately we ran out of it at about 1pm), and we served lovely Provence tea cakes with just a touch of lavender (from Le Cakery)... and sold a lot of gorgeous lavender plants. I'm especially enamored of the Tuscan variety, big and showy, in a large 3-gallon pot. There are still a few left... Okay, so right now, put this date on your calender for our next flea market (and last of the season!): Saturday, August 23, from 10-4 (you can get there a bit early, as did some of the serious, I mean serious, buyers).

Lavender lemonade: make a simple syrup using culinary lavender (we have it at Pomegranate). The culinary part is important, because a) it's organic and you don't want lavender sprayed with some gunk in your food, and b) only certain varieties taste good; some have a sort of camphor aftertaste. Make simple syrup with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Add about 2 TBL culinary lavender buds and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir, strain and refrigerate. Make fresh lemonade (sometimes we use a combination of frozen and fresh squeezed lemons), and add a bit of your simple syrup to taste (not too much or it will be overpowering).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

French Flea Market and Lavender Festival Saturday

Oui, mes amis. The French Flea Market is back at Pomegranate Home & Garden this Saturday the 19th, and it's going to be a great one. We've combined it with our Lavender Festival; our two most popular summer events in the garden. Our vendors are all hand-picked for their fabulous items, whether antique, vintage funky, or hip handmade. And they're coming from all over this time to fill up our lawn and gardens with all their great finds (great prices, too). It goes from 10-4, so you have time to fuel up with a good breakfast, then dash over to Pomegranate and shop shop shop.

For our lavender festival, we've brought in lots of gorgeous lavender plants (they came in really late this year, but it was worth the wait), new lavender products (including some great culinary lavender) and of course there will be treats to enjoy. The shop is full of new arrivals, too. We'll be open until 5:30 on Saturday, so grab your vintage market basket, stop by and have some fun. We're on River Mall Avenue in the historic farmhouse buildings across from the north end of Macy's. Street parking is going to be crazy, so suggest you park in the back lot at Macy's. See you on Saturday!

Not so happy news, but there is an upside

So, we've made the very difficult decision to close our downtown Bend shop (Pomegranate Downtown). The good news: we're keeping our original store and plan to make it even better. In fact, we're really looking forward to going back to our roots and doing what we do well. With just one location.

Truth is, it's harder than we thought to maintain two stores, and before our heads implode (or one of us gets an ulcer), we're going to close operations downtown and move it all over to Pomegranate Home & Garden (our River Mall Avenue location). We just celebrated our tenth anniversary in business there, and plan to keep going for many more years.

I hate doing this, because I love both our stores. And I think downtown Bend is about as charming as it gets. I love that it's cozy and walkable, has great views, has kept its vintage appeal (although a few of those flat concrete bank buildings could use a remodel, pronto), and has top-notch independent restaurants and shops. I love being a part of it.

The good news is, we're looking forward to putting all our energy and passion into our original shop, and concentrating on making it better. It is a darling little spot, afterall, even if it is a little hidden (and sometimes that's a good thing). I have lots of ideas for it -- things I couldn't get to with two stores to maintain (really looking forward to less time spent doing administrative junk). Like, I'm envisioning the front porch with this kind of "french laundry" feel, with linens and aprons and great laundry products and French linen waters. We'll have all our best lines at our new, improved River Mall Avenue Pomegranate, and will add some new ones. I'd like to increase our offerings of great letterpress cards and paper products, ribbons, books, gourmet foods, music, soaps and lotions... wind it up, baby!

Meanwhile, we're looking for a new tenant for our downtown space, and someone is going to step into what I think is the dreamiest space available. When we first walked in there and saw all that great old brick, the wood floors, the skylight, and cool tin ceilings, every fiber in my body was alive with happiness. Bingo! It's perfect. If you have questions about it, you can email me, and I'll put you in touch with the appropriate personage. Meanwhile, we're staying put until the new tenant is found, and are going forward with everything as before. More new merchandise is coming in every day, and life is as normal as it can be...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Greetings, goodies & giveaways for the Fourth of July

Here's to a happy, fire-free Fourth of July! Both Pomegranate shops will be open on Friday the 4th; if you get tired of rafting, golfing, or your odious cousin Newton who cheats at croquet, you can dash in for a little shopping therapy. Our River Mall Avenue store will be open from 10:30 to about 3pm... if you need a last-minute hostess gift or something fun for your summer table.

Downtown, we're open all day and into the evening, because ta-dah, it's also First Friday ArtWalk, and all of downtown will be open and serving goodies. Here's what we've got lined up for you at our downtown shop: we're open at 10:30 (after catching a few minutes of the beloved Pet Parade), and will be giving away free 4th of July fans and tattoos (don't worry, it won't hurt), plus doggie treats for your pet stars. By the way, your dog is always welcome in our downtown shop as long as he/she doesn't piddle on anything or take out a whole display with a tail swipe.

Later, somewhere around 5ish, we'll start serving up First Friday libations. This time, Robert's going to make Pometinis for y'all, and it should be very festive and fun. We'll close when it's all gone, or around 8pm, or maybe a little sooner... because we want to get home and enjoy a little bbq on the deck, too (and see the fireworks, if the haze clears). The point is, get there early.

In case you're still thinking about your menu for Friday, just want to pass along our all-time favorite dish for the 4th. It's Chef Jody Denton's delicious Tuscan Babyback Spareribs that he serves at Merenda; a few years ago he generously shared his recipe in a newspaper article, and we cut it out, used it and loved it. Our copy is in tatters by now, but I found this link to Food & Wine where it was reprinted. Highly recommended.