Saturday, May 30, 2009

Irish Inspiration

This post is to inspire you - my readers to check out these pictures taken on my Irish travels, and join in the flower making fun on June 26-28 at my flower making workshop. I still have room on all three days -

This post if also for my friend Diane who takes AMAZING pictures of flowers, morphs them into art and helps me at the workshops.

The details on the workshops are:
  • They are held in my studio in Pittsfield, MA.
  • 10-4 each day
  • $150 per day
  • Come one, two or all three days
  • One and two day students can come on any day/s that work/s.
Scroll down to see what the flowers I have made look like and email me at if you have any questions or want to register.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Green, Family, and Fairy Portals

Today's Aside:
I got a really helpful tip on arranging images on my blog page to correlate with the text. I have not allowed myself the time to use the tip tonight. Please bear with the haphazard flow of this post and know that tomorrow will be a learning day on my computer - in the blogosphere - as long as it is raining.

Yesterday was spent at the cottage - the place that the girls now call Ireland. When they get tired when we are out roaming around they say they want to go home to Ireland.

We did go to see Auntie Ellie who is not feeling so well. I foolishly did not get a picture but promise to capture her beauty before our stay is up. She is beautiful, fit, tiny, agile, smiley, full of life with truly the most amazing garden I have ever seen. She is 90. Lives by herself (I am sure she shares her home with an extended family of
fairies.) Her not feeling so well has to do with her heart beating too fast leaving her short of breath - a lot. She is not used to asking for help or even wanting it that much. It is frightening her. Damn thing seems to be wearing out - she says. These pictures were taken enroute to her magical abode. We didn't stay too long as we arrived unexpectedly and Lucy was sleeping in the car. We will go back as much as we can while we are here.

Note to readers:
We do spend time each day seeking a decent
cup of coffee. We have been spoiled by our neighborhood haunt back in Shire City, and so far have not found anything that compares!

The sailboat at low tide in Kinvara harbor was the view from yesterday's coffee stop. The coffee was decent but not great.

The cement gate post is at the entryway to a house built like the newer barns here with lots of glass and a visible staircase - making me think that it is a residence - and the veiw was notable too. Part of what seemed to me to be an organic farm not far from where we are staying on the edge of Co. Clare

Third from the top is the road to Cregmore, Ellie's home.

Next is the road I walked down to see friends nearby - a two way road on a blustery moist afternoon. Got acupuncture for my sore hand and a hot cuppa tea.

A purple bloom among lush green roadside texture.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Family, Flowers, Food - Ireland

Who needs a welcome mat when this is the entry of your home? At the cottage where we stay in Nogra, one first has to travel through a notable low walled flower garden full of blooming poppies, daisies, fuchsia bushes, calendula, asters, clematis and countless other unusual colorful, odd shaped gloriousness.

Intermittent rain is keeping the lush greens soft and everywhere. Sun warms the ground and the wind has been keeping us in layers, wool socks and all.

We went to Galway in search of a healthy food grocery shop today. We got turned around (and around) in traffic due to the Volvo World Sea Race that happened to be in town today too. We just parked the car and walked around the waterfront to check it all out.
Chris was in his glory when we found the big diggers and trucks!
I was really happy to find descent cup of black coffee to put an end to the throbbing headache I was toting around this morning!
Healthy food was available there too - a booth called Good Food Ireland - which is sort of like our Berkshire Grown back home. We had lunch there - really yummy organic meat sausages served like hot dogs. Veggies were not offered but I did sample the smoked salmon - Yummmm. The woman who waited on us gave me lots of info on the organization including a touring map with their members locations all over the country. No word of a whole, healthy food grocery market though.

We ended up shopping for basics back in Kinvara at the new, giant, not very good Londis. They did have organic milk and some organic fruit and vegetables. The potatoes we had for dinner were very tastey (rightly so!)

On the way home from a walk to the beach Lucy fell asleep in the stroller with a handful of wildflowers for 'Daddy'. A red clover, buttercup, purple vetch, and a couple others, he put them in water, short stems and all - a reminder of the love I have for my family!

Then there was the tea party. Violet and Lucy seem so easily entertained. Mostly it is the fact that they have each other but they are pretty creative thinkers. Every piece of silverware was searched out and on display for their festivities. They must have been expecting quite a crowd!

this is an aside:
I wish I could figure out how to format and post pictures better with this software. It would be great if the text that pertained to the pictures on my posts could correlate a little better~ Maybe someone out there can help me? I have tried to get help through blogger but that is quite a maze and requires patience

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ireland, Playgrounds, Thrift Shops, Organic Farms, and Family

Chris, Lucy, Violet and myself, just arrived here in Nogra, near Kinvara this morning. We flew from JFK to Shannon without a hitch. The girls were so excited about the thought of flying on a plane I was worried about the amount of sleep any of us would get on our overnight flight. I was also worried about Violet having one of her unexplained night time coughing attacks that sounds like everything is coming up, on the plane or in the airport and being summoned off the plane in the latest media panic for Swine Flu. Yikes!
We all slept as well as undrugged people can sleep on planes, and there was not so much as a throat clearing from the youngest of our possee. I would like to plan our two week stay around Playgrounds, Thrift Shops, Organic Farms and Family - not necessarily in that order. Delving into a little research has been pretty friutless so far. Am I going to have to write a book mapping out and reviewing these things? I have thought about the Thrift Shop Guide before. Not sure how playgrounds partner for the average reader - there maybe the beginnings of two volumes here. For now, stay tuned here and I will let you know what I learn.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Co-op Retreat, Fairy Houses

Last weekend I participated in the board retreat for The Berkshire Food Coop. It was a lovely stay at 9 Mountain Retreat and Workshop Center with true remote quiet, tastey whole food, and lots of wilderness to 'get lost' in. Once we got our work accomplished, we carpooled back to culture. I got home and CRASHED before the girls were in bed! All the serious, deep, collaborative thinking had seeped into my energy reserve and wiped me out.
Now that I have had a chance to recover, I am more intrigued than ever with the coop business model. Which enters into other aspects of my thought - Alchemy Initiative is in deep discussion around business structure with all our forward motion set aside until we can decide and pursue the structure that makes the best sense to us all.

It is imperative to do deep collaborative thinking in a Fairy House!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Flower Making Workshop - June 26, 27 & 28

Learn to make colorful surreal flowers from scraps of fabric, recovered buttons and wire. Simple techniques are easily learned quickly and time is allowed for delving into the creative progression of development and design. Use these unusual, fun and 'ever-lasting' beauties for wedding arrangements, table settings, wreaths and garlands adding color and whimsy any time of year. No sewing or other experience is necessary. Classes are limited to ten people each day and cost $150 per day, which includes the use of all tools and materials for the workshop, as well as a healthy lunch. At the end of the day you will have a bouquet to go home with and the knowledge to make more with simple tools. Students can attend for one, two, or all three days of the workshop. More time in the studio allows for deeper development of skills and making style. One and two day students can come any of the three days. Pre-Registration is required. Ask about nearby accommodations.

To register:
Send an email to letting me know which day you would like to attend. Then send a check for 50% deposit to hold your space to Crispina ffrench 40 Melville St., Pittsfield (Shire City), Ma 01201

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crafting A Business

Kathie Fitzgerald put this really interesting book
together initially released in 2008. Now she is
adding a chapter discussing with the featured entrepreneurs, their tactics, for weathering the changes in our financial systems. I just got off the phone with her and was really pleased with her interesting questions and committment to sharing inspiration. We are beginning to discuss an Event around the re-release due around Mothers' Day 2010. Stay tuned for that.

Also compiling a schedule of workshops for the remainder of 2009 to be posted on my calendar later today.

Hope to grow that audience cause the peeps who have been here to a workshop are nothing but proud and happy on the way out at the end.