101 Posts

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Hey Everyone!  I’ve reached 101 posts on my blog since starting it on a November fall day a year ago (I think it was a year, geez, time flys!).  So I thought this would be the appropriate time, seeing as I hit 101 posting, to update the look of my blog.  It needed some color – thus here it is.  What do you think so far?  Let me know.


The next class on my series is called, “Creating an Encaustic Treasure.”  Read all about the details by clicking above on DIY CLASSES.  A full, detailed description is included.  It was suppose to be held last Saturday, but our one and only snowfall this winter came on my first class day of the year – go figure!  However, this weekend is predicted to be in the 40’s and sunny – not that it is held outdoors, but it allows for safer travel for the attendees.  Why don’t you join us?  It is fun, creative, inspiring, and artful while incorporating nature.  Part of my goal is to “combine nature with art”, thus noted on this new blog format. Look out for the February class scheduled, it will give you a wonderful window into how into how flowers are dyed onto silk to creates spectacular works of art.  I can’t even put it into words appropriately how beautiful this guest instructor’s talent is – you have to see it for yourself!  Our talented artist, speaking on this topic, will do that for all the attendees.  Interested?  Click away above on DIY CLASSES and let me know what you think.  Contact me for any questions, interest, and if you are an artist yourself.


I attend several horticultural related events every year as a guest, helper, volunteer, attendee, or speaker.  See the list which shows the events I like to make sure are on my calendar.  You will see a “Special Tour by Cathy T” via the Calendar menu bar choice for February.  I’m organizing a group to the CT Flower and Garden Show.  Want to ride with a group, have breakfast before we go, and get dropped off and picked up at the door of the convention center in Hartford for the upcoming flower show?  Yes!  Well, e-me or click on the link to read more details.


You know, my hairdresser suggested this idea.  Why didn’t I think of it before?  She’s a mother and said she would love to have my container garden party service offering but as a kid’s birthday party.  Well, that sounds wonderful to me too.  In fact, last summer, I had a booth at a community day in East Windsor. There were lots of kids there.  They came by to see my container of plants at my booth, especially because it happened to be Mother’s Day weekend.  I have to say, kids are the best listeners when it comes to plant facts.  They all were so into the plants and adorable as they selected a special plant for their Mom.  I remember thinking, I have to do more with kids and plants – thus here I go.  See the KIDS CONTAINER GARDEN PARTY menu choice for more details.  Give me a giggle in you are interested.


Some of you may remember that I mentioned I will be calling you if you have requested to hold a date for the regular CONTAINER GARDEN PARTY bookings.  So ring-ring, I will be contacting you next week.  Look over your 2012 calendar for the date you want to hold for your Container Garden Party.  They are precious in season.  I’m so excited to be looking over the grower’s new plants right now this week in preparation for my call to you and for the season’s fun to come.


My two latest landscape designs are underway.  One is for a business in Enfield and the other is a volunteer activity for a skate park in town, which I have mentioned previously – gee, another kids related activity.  There isn’t much snow on the ground right now, so remember, design services are available “right now”…and it is good to consider hiring a designer, Cathy T, before the rush of the season in April or May when everything ramps up rapidly.  Just a reminder.


I was playing around with videos, but the comical part was it was always when I was dressed, well, like a gardener, with sloppy dirty farmer jeans on – and often in a bit of a rush.  One video was the day before our October storm, it was so cold out, the other video in my basement showing how to do bulbs in containers for the holidays.  They are blooming right now in my house – red tulips – how nice (although a little late)  Anyhow, my point, I’m trying the video thing, will keep adding topics that I hope you enjoy.  Thanks for visiting.  Cathy T

Having Fun while Catching Up

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When Seinfeld, the television series ‘about nothing’ was really popular, I didn’t pay much attention to it.  Same scenario with the show, Sex and the City, and the sitcom, Friends.  When my friends were raving about those shows at the time they were popular, I, for some reason, wasn’t watching them.  However, these wildly popular shows would always capture my attention during their re-run phases.  Glued to the television set, I would watch the reruns, yet to my friends, they were history.  I was always behind the game.

I kind of feel that way right now about the Apple “i” world.  I got an iPad after there was much hype about them.  My husband buying me one two birthdays ago.  As soon as it was in my hands, I couldn’t stop talking about how amazing it was and became totally addicted to tapping that screen, and adored the photo capabilities.  I even wrote a blog about it at the time.  It is not only a fun device, it is very useful in my business.  I love it.

This year, my husband insisted I needed an iPhone.  (I know what you are thinking – what a nice husband).  But I kept telling him, I wanted a tool box with tools.  And I would love for the box and tools to be pink – not too demanding, I thought.

Well, what did he do, as you can guess – he got me both of course, lol.  I’m very excited about my toolbox set, yes, in pink no less, but I haven’t touched it since it was under the Christmas tree.  As for the iPhone, on the other hand, it hasn’t left my grip since the activation process at the store.  I can’t take my eyes off it.

I can see now why my husband was insisting it was time for me to have a modern phone.  My old phone, the flip open type, has cracked keys. I think it must be about, I don’t know – maybe 5-8 years years old.  My text messages were very comical as it would take forever to enter one word.

I had no idea the iPhone was so powerful.  In fact, after experiencing the iPhone’s camera capabilities, I wish I didn’t purchase a new camera about four months ago.  Who needs a camera now?!

Besides the powerful and impressive camera capabilities, it also has become a toy for me.  I’ve begun playing the “games” which I’ve always said I wasn’t very interested in playing.  Again, I’m a little late on being part of what is hot and popular.  I can only imagine the games I’ve been missing.

“Words with Friends” is the first game to capture my attention.  My friend told me about it and she started up our first game.  Well, let’s just say, she has created a monster.  Within my first day of playing, I’m hooked.  I can’t stop thinking about it and anxiously await my turn.  I’m a bit of a amateur, but who cares, I’m having fun – isn’t that the point – to have fun?  I think so.

All of this got me thinking about how anything we do now needs to have that component of “fun” in order to use it – or pay attention to it.  Perhaps that is why my Cathy T DIY Classes are something I so enjoy organizing and doing – because it is “fun” and educational, and includes an element of being creative.  I have fun and so do the attendees.

During the holidays, I rented a movie called, “Midnight in Paris”, written and directed by Woody Allen.  To me, it was a fairy tale about a writer’s imagination as escapes from reality from time to time on his vacation.  In his fantasy world, he ends up meeting and socializing with very famous artists from the past while in Paris.  There was a line it the movie as he discusses art with a collector which struck me – it went something like this…”Art is the antidote to problems in life…”  It wasn’t those exact words, but something along those lines.  Art, which is fun, can be the remedy in life or the distraction to problems or an escape.  Games are escape too in some respects.

If I owned a nursery, I would create a fun cubicle with a very cool computer screen for customers to use when they visit the store.  The walls of this imaginary cubicle would be covered with garden photos – all very colorful and inspiring.  The customer could walk up to the screen, tap on it to get a selection of options.  Shade or Sun?  Tap.  Your favorite colors – Purple, Yellow …tap.  Size you want to deal with, no more than 6 ft, 10 ft, or 15 feet?…, tap. Then a screen of shapes would appear, geometric shapes, squares, round, oval, kidney, half-mooned, whatever – heck throw in a star shape in there.  Tap on the shape which appeals to you.  Don’t bother asking if the new garden bed is north-south-east-or-west.  Most folks with a new home or little gardening experience don’t even consider that question, but they usually know if there is sun or shade in the area they want to plant.  And they often have a budget in mind, perhaps even add a tap for a price range.  Then boom, on the screen, 4 options of garden designs appear, in color, visual, full of life, real, and the customer, presses PRINT.  Out comes a design with a complete plant list, then they go out to the garden center to get the plants listed based on what they like.  The computer deal is not just a print out – it would be interactive, have the bells and dings you often here when playing online games, and have the most importnat element: fun.  (OK, who’s a programmer out there?! Or does this game already exist – and I’m behind the game again?)

If things aren’t fun today, they don’t get much attention – do they?  This concept of fun appeared to me in a store this weekend.  It is a costume jewelry store.  Every display was setup by color and theme.  There was one section with colors of vivid lime greens and ocean blues that spoke to me right away.  It made me want to go to the islands, it had a Carribbean feel, the display attached an emotion to the jewelry that inspired me – me directly.  Perhaps this display would be ugh to someone else, but it made me want to be part of it, to participate, to create an outfit to go with the jewelry selection.  The store had many other color and style combinations in displays, black and white for example – good for New Year’s eve.  A hot red table – Going out for Valentine’s day and want to get sexy?  That table’s items are for you.  My younger sister told me she likes how they setup their store by color and if you had a wedding to go to, you could come here to get your accessories based on the outfit you selected.  It was fun to look at.  It was almost like a game.

This concept of providing that feeling of color and themes can be used in any business.  Imagine that same cubicle in a grocery store.  Tapping that screen, hmmm, tonite, I want to make a chicken dish.  I like onions, peppers, and whatever.  Tap on the added ingredients you tend to enjoy.  Tap on the computer screen to indicate you like it hot spicey or you like it cool.  Tap on the screen to indicate you are a diabetic, or you love fried foods.  Tap, tap, tap – then an recipe spills out with a photo – it has to have that colorful photo too.  Off you go in the isles to pick up your ingredients with the recipe in hand.  Next time you go to the store, you visit the computer screen again to enter what you thought of the recipe, you become a fan, and you participate in the input of the meal’s creation.  I think that sounds way more fun than staring at the food isles and wondering what the heck to make tonite for dinner.

For some people, it is not about creating the most magnificent garden or perfect meal, it is about having fun and ending up with a decent result.  When you have fun, you learn, create, and build your talents and skills.  You don’t have to always win the game, and if you are a little behind – catch up!  Cathy T

The 2012 Year Begins

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Happy New Year Everyone


Heads-up:  I’ve posted my e:Pub for this new year, which you can get to by visiting my website, www.cathytesta.com, and clicking on e:Pubs.  There you can see the activities I have planned for 2012 so far – some becoming annnual events.  Perhaps you will join me at some of them. Each is a horticultural learning event and fun to attend, at least in most plant and garden lovers’ eyes.


I also recently updated my DIY CLASSES on this blog, featuring the first class of the winter 2012, Encaustic Painting.  See the DIY Class link from the menu bar above to read all about this class, using beeswax to encase your treasured creations.  I’m thinking of making my piece to represent my mother, using her favorite colors, a pressed flower she adores, and words like “twin, mom, sister, mentor” in the artwork along with photos of her as a child, then giving it to her for her birthday later this year.  This class, scheduled on January 21st this month, utilizes items from nature or special items you collect.  Each a piece could represent someone or something you love, then hung on your wall as a painting or lean against a shelf for decor, or presented as a unique hand-crafted gift made by you.  If you have a special event this year (say a wedding, anniversary, special birthday, even upcoming Valentine’s Day gift), and you would like to learn to make a personal craft for someone that will be preserved forever, this is a great class to attend.  See the DIY CLASSES Link above for more.


As for me, this week kicks off getting ready for 2012, as I noted in my e:Pub, and the task of taking down holiday decorations.  I am going to hate taking down my Boxwood Kissing Ball – it is gorgeous, if I say so myself, but that’s the fun of “changing seasons” – Soon it will be time to get ready for the next set.  I will start two designs on my list, and get the Philadelphia Flower Show booked on my calendar, scheduled in early March (see my latest e:Pub for more information on these types of events).


This year, the Philly show is themed Hawaii style – I can not miss that!  Last year, we booked a package where the hotel and show tickets were combined, so I will look into that.  I loved being able to walk directly from the hotel to the show convention center, it saved time and was super convenient, but you can also take a tour bus via the Connecticut Horticultural Society’s organized tours.  Visit www.cthort.org for information.  As a member, you get a great deal on travel, and if you don’t want to drive yourself – they bring you right to the doors of the hotel, show, and dinners.  You can’t beat that.  Plus you spend time with other plant love enthusiasts, and the show is something to see if you have never gone before.  Be prepared for crowds and wear good shoes.  See my post from 2011 on what else we did when at this show, by clicking on the ARCHIVES-events section at the top of my blog wall.


And today, it is finally cold outside – brrr.  In fact, the weather man said it is the coldest day since last February!  This weather is so odd and keeps us guessing.  I’d like to see a bit of the white stuff though – I miss my snowshoe activity outdoors.  The way the sun reflects off the snow when doing the snowshoe gig makes me feel revived.  I think that is why I enjoy it so much and don’t find it difficult.  But until the white stuff arrives, I will be thinking all things gardening and plants – and I suspect you may be doing the same from time to time.

OK, time to get to work.  Have a great day,  Cathy T