2018 Birthday Adventure: Terrarium Workshop

You might remember from a previous post that since last year, I’ve decided that I would actually start doing things for my birthday with a group of friends every year. And by actually doing things, I mean going to shows, going places, exploring new things–an experience!

I think it was in the springtime when I had decided (with input from friends that we needed a “girls only trip”) that we were going to a terrarium building workshop in Portland, OR. Because why not? I love plants and I love learning how to do new things, just as my friends do too! I called around a few places and fell in love with Artemisia – Collage with Nature. From what I saw on their website, they were absolutely plant-centric and offered small, intimate workshops. I put down the deposit for our party of five and waited.

As the event approached, the five of us excitedly texted each other how much we were looking forward to hanging out and just having a blast. And the day came, and we did just that!

I brought my Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 camera just for the occasion, so this post will have pictures on film from that camera or the spiffy new Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer I got for my birthday! (Eeep!)

Speaking of my birthday, can I just say that I have been absolutely spoiled rotten this year? I got new plants, a new laptop, the Fujifilm Smartphone Printer, beautiful opal earrings, gift cards, sewing kits and guides (for my future dressmaking), a hand lettering guide and calligraphy pens, new dresses, sassy oven mitts and tea towel from Blue Q, the cutest itty bitty Erlenmeyer flasks and beakers, dinner by the water, an awesome trip with some of my most favorite people, and a bunch more! And every single birthday card has made me teary eyed.

I am so very fortunate to have amazing people and wonderful things in my life. I love you all very much. ❤


We live 2+ hours away from Portland, OR, while Brittney (not pictured here) lives closer to there–so we started with just the four of us. We left around lunchtime fine, but got hungry as we got closer. We stopped by a burger joint, which Brooke and I now swear to not eat there ever again. The stomach discomfort we experienced just isn’t worth it!


We didn’t have time to check into our incredibly adorable AirBNB by the time we got into the area, so we headed straight to Artemisia with some time to look around before our workshop began. It was an adorable little shop that reminded me of what a cute green witch’s den would look like. The place was brimming with plants of all kinds, crystals, tumbled gems, and other neat objects. This was the first time I actually got to smell sweet grass too! I was so tempted to buy a braided bit of the stuff, but hesitated, knowing that I’m going to spend more money later during our trip. I’ll have to get some next time. It smelled heavenly! Who would’ve guessed that grass could smell so good?


Gorgeous, isn’t it? Since we had some time to kill before the workshop started, we visited a neat ice cream shop across the way called Fifty Licks, that had the most amazing menu! Here’s one part of it:


Chocolate As #*&$ was calling my name, but I had to go for the Coconut Lemon Saffron they offered. It was so incredibly lemony and bright!


After treating ourselves at Fifty Licks, we walked back over to Artemisia, met up with Brittney (our fifth party member!) and met our workshop guide, Crystal. (Her is perfectly appropriate for such a shop!) We also met the shop’s pet, a dove named Paloma.



Yes, that was Paloma on Crystal’s head!! While Crystal educated us on caring for certain plants that would soon be housed in our terrariums, shared with us her journey as “The Fool,” experiencing a “sign” through an experience she had with caterpillars that invaded a white rabbit foot fern she was caring for and more, Paloma glided, fluttered and cooed all about the back of the shop. Eventually, he nested on the top of her head and we just had to document the magic that was happening right before our eyes.

Crystal, assisted by Paloma’s singing, provided us the history of Artemisia. The shop was created and still owned by Amy Bryant-Aiello, who is an avid naturalist, photographer and installation artist. The shop in its first form was more outside than inside, but eventually moved entirely indoors. The benches that are now inside the shop once belonged to the park where Artemisia first began to take root. Through and through, the shop still resonates with its wild origins.

We got to making our terrariums after we were introduced to the different substrates we had available to fill them with. Our choices included actual ground up garnets from India, garnets from the Pacific Northwest, mineral grit sand that’s made up of ground up hematite, white quartz sand, and Monterey yellow sand. We also learned how to remove our plants from their plastic boxes safely for transplanting, and how to place them in their new homes properly. I went into this workshop with an idea of how to make terrariums, but I learned all kinds of new tips and tricks!


The workshop was truly an unforgettable experience for a few reasons. It really was fun! And we all got to make and take home our own unique terrariums–each were very different and exuded our personalities well. Lastly, our terrarium gurus, Crystal and Paloma were intriguing and very kind. Crystal was an ardent plant whisperer, a crystal healer and I’m pretty sure she’s an aura reader–she just had this air about her that made us feel like we were really glimpsing into the soul of natural mysticism. I’ve never encountered a dove in real life until that workshop either! Birds kind of freak me out sometimes, but Paloma was very gentle and it really was soothing to hear his cooing and singing. At one point in time, he was dancing to the music that was playing in the shop! Pretty cute, right?

The night was young when we finished up the workshop so we went about and explored downtown Portland. In the morning, we lazed about in our cutesy AirBNB house (seriously, it was so adorable–I’m hoping Jake and I can have a little house like that one day!) until we decided we were ready for breakfast at a wonderful gem called Sanborn’s. Sanborn’s had a variety of options on their menu and everything really was delicious! And because the girl gang mentioned that it was my birthday celebration weekend, they gifted me with a hibiscus rose mimosa. How sweet! And downright yummy!

That weird dish that’s pictured with all the pretty colors is actually a bunch of pickled veggies, fruits and a sliced up egg from a German delicatessen we ran into while we were about town. Ever had a pickled grape or pickled apple? No joke–they were surprisingly delicious!

By the time our trip had come to an end, we were already planning on a foodie/exploring adventure in Portland in the fall. Ha! I’m so looking forward to many more adventures in the near future with my best friends! Thank you to everyone who made my birthday a stellar welcoming of my 29th year on this planet. ❤


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