Meeting Interesting People at the Fair

One of the ways to get the word out about the wearable art of the label JustZen, is to go out and meet people who do like unusual things. What better venue than art and craft show!

One of the perks of the visits to these shows is that you can meet many other interesting people that like to create things that are out of the ordinary – the vendors and artist.

If you are familiar with JustZen, you know that Gigi is off to shows all over the South-West, and even up into Idaho. After many shows you will more and more recognize familiar faces and even build friendships. The world of the traveling artists is a little universe of its own.

Obviously, trading wares and art is a common occurrence. Who would be better suited to appreciate unusual art than another artist who produces extraordinary art.

Paul is one of those contacts Gigi built. He is a potter who likes tie dye – and Gigi is a tie-dyer who likes pottery – a match made in heaven!

Today Gigi cooked spaghetti and we used our new bowls from Paul. We just had to take a photo and send it to Paul, telling him that the dish was twice as tasty because of the nice new bowls.


If you like unusual pottery, visit Paul’s Mystic Bottle Pottery Studio.

Summer Scarves – Really? Scarves in Summer?

Bringing ice cream to the Eskimos?

Hiring the fox to guard the chicken?

Offering scarves with the summer right around the corner?

All that seems to be pretty silly, right? But then again, there are the summer evenings, or a cruise to Alaska, or many other occasions we can imagine where having an accessory like one of our amazing scarves handy might come in – – – well – – – handy.

Let me first show you what we are talking about…

Aren’t these absolutely cool? Obviously the neck is not the only place where they can go, think of your waist worn as a belt, and maybe a bandana, if you find yourself at the beach and you happen to have one of these with you – – OK, how likely is that to happen?

Anyway, you get my drift – and considering that Mother’s Day is coming any moment now, I better leave you alone so that you can go and find one – or a few – of those summer scarves – – – – – – – –  silly – scarves in summer?!


PS: Gigi will be in Moscow this weekend. No, not the on in Russia, the one in Idaho – at the Renaissance Fair.

One Giant Jack Fruit

Have you ever seen a jack-fruit that big?

OK, maybe there is a bit of exaggeration built-in.

But in reality, this beast was somewhere between 20 and 30 pounds and getting started breaking it open was not an easy task. But we finally got it cut in half and then we started, under the watchful eye of jackfruit-master Gigi to dissect it and learn what is edible and what better to discard.

There is a lot of waste and this video gives you some idea on what work we had to do to get to the good part…

The yield of one half of the jackfruit looked like this:

One bowl of fruit

and something for either cooking in salt water or maybe – it’s worth a try – roasting…

A smaller bowl of jackfruit seeds – supposed to be nutty

Sooo much new stuff

Did you miss my mail the last two weeks?
Hi and Hello – it’s Merlin,

No blurbs about any insights and experiences from me today (whew!) but only some quick info what I have been doing.

I had mentioned on our JustZen Facebook page a little while back that Gigi had been very busy taking more than 300 photos of new items. So, I had to get busy getting them all up on the web site.

And as there is also a brand new item, I had to create a new page for that ‘Empire Dress’ and tie it all together – so that it actually also works.

That is now all done!

First of all I want to show you our new Empire Dress


Nice – huh?

Normally we would now make an Independence Day sale – but I am not normal – – hey, I mean politically – – so I decided to make this a

“Introducing the Empire Dress Sale”

and it’s 35% off these new items of ours – yup – more than a third off!

How do you get it? – With one of our promo codes that you enter in the last field at the end of the shipping info when you check out.

So, put some Empire Dresses into the shopping card and enter


into the promo field, and we take this right off the total. This code is good for  short time only, it will go away eventually.

Here once more the link to the new Empire Dresses.

Peace-Up and Cheers (and happy BBQing),

PS: Nearly forgot – beside these dresses I also added Crinkle Shirts, Thermal Shirts, Henley Tanks, Classic Tanks, Wrap Dresses, Men’s T-shirts and Hoodies, Buddha Bags and a whole bunch of Crinkle Scarves.

PPS: Gigi is in Arizona this long weekend (Sat to Mon) – at the ‘Art in the Park’ in Flagstaff.

Art Prints by Natalie Cannon

I (Merlin) have always been partial to real skills instead of mimicked skills. In my defense I have to say that I tried to apply that to myself as well, even though there have been times when I succumbed to the temptation to make shortcuts.

One of the shortcuts I remember trying was playing music. I have been always fascinated by the keyboard but never had any piano lessons to speak of. Then came computers and midi interfaces and I got myself a Roland synthesizer – good and expensive at that time. I was good with computer (still am, but the way) and in no time I had a nice setup with which I could pretend to be able to play music. I am glad to report that I found my integrity and dismantled that setup soon thereafter and went back teaching myself some songs the real way.

In my early days I also rejected photography because it seemed too easy to make pictures, until I discovered that there was a whole other set of skills to master and that it was an art form in its own right.

For the same reason I have not embraced computer art for a long time. But I think now the computer with it’s tools in graphics has developed to a stage where one can create amazing visuals after mastering those tools and distinguish oneself from the many with little skills.

I myself am tempted but just have not been able to invest the time to develop the necessary skill. But I believe I can recognize a skilled and inspired artist when I see one.

And the reason for this article is that I have encountered one.

Check out Natalie’s MAGES: bold original Art & Jewelry. Just notice these two little examples of what Natalie can do…

There are much bigger views of her art, which she offers as pedants, art tiles and art prints, on her web site. Especially the pendants are a “have to check out” item as we are soon heading into the holiday season.

(in case you wonder – I never got very far with my piano skills.)

Using Tie-dye Scraps Most Creatively

Ain’t it great when even scraps of your products are considered to be valuable enough to be used – and then so creatively?

We got this email from Jan, the mind and spirit behind the Hungry Holler:

Hey Merlin:

Got back to the Holler today and found my fabulous scarf in the mailbox. I LOVE it! It’s so l o n g. Just what I like.I’ve been meaning to send you the photos attached. I have a huge sombrero. A girl can’t have enough shade…I never liked the cheesy hatband on the hat. Never could figure out why they would use such a silly thing on what is otherwise a VERY GOOD hat. It finally came apart and I made my own hatband. It may look familiar to you: I have one of your wrap-around skirts. It’s lovely but TOO long, story of my life. I like my scarves long, but need my skirts less so. I cut off the skirt and had a good bunch of fabric left. I used some of that fabric to make my hatband.

I plan to order more scarves for Christmas gifts.

Peace and best wishes,
Jan Mohr Meng

And here is that sombrero…

And speaking of Hungry Holler – what I so much like about Jan’s creations is the ingenuity of her creations: concrete art, using gourds as the last resting place for your pet, and bottle cap art – amongst many other interesting ideas on how to use every day objects in a new way.

Have you ever even gotten the idea of using paper to do your floor?

The Future of Shopping for Cloths

Shopping for clothes online has this one very big disadvantage – you can’t try it on and look at yourself in the mirror!

Getting a feel for the fabric is another point that still needs to be overcome; but with close-up images and a good description, maybe comparing it to other fabrics the customer likely will know, that does not appear to be the biggest problem.

Now comes a little video from Cisco – the networking equipment company – that puts big hope in the heart of all online clothing stores:

JustZen, the sponsor of this blog, so far did not have much trouble with returns but they still dream of a plugin for the web browser that turns on the web cam of the shopper’s computer after the shopper clicks ‘Preview’, and a friendly voice asks her to stand up, stand back three feet and just shows on screen how that wrap dress would look on her.

Combine that with the computer connected to the big-screen TV and we are nearly there.

Inspirational T-Shirts

From the blog post How to create real value on Steve Pavlina’s blog I learned about the young company Reflect Inc. with a very unique product that I can not help but telling you about.

Look at this…

mirror image t-shirt

Can you read the writing on the wall – uh – T-shirt? Tell you so much, it’s inspirational – – OK, get your mirror out and read it in the reflection, then it will be easy.

So, what’s the point you might say. I think it’s a great point, because this message (by the way, for all of you who did not bother to bring out the mirror – it says “I am greatful for all that I have”) is mostly for the wearer of the t-shirt, right? And when is it that you look at the front of your t-shirt – – right, when you are in the front of the mirror – So – here we go!

And beside this it’s a great conversation starter – and it’s OK to stare while you try to figure it out.