Loading... Please wait...

Could this be Paradise?

Hello Haiti, indeed! Colorful storefront in Croix-des-Bouquet.

Hello Haiti, indeed! Colorful storefront in Croix-des-Bouquet.

Though Casey has been travelling to Haiti since the late 90’s and I have racked up more than a few trips myself, I have never really thought of travelling to Haiti simply for the fun of it. (View our “Visit Haiti with us” video.) I love going there, it is a truly rich experience each and every time, but I don’t know that i would ever think to go there to pursue a pleasure-seeking journey.
Until now.
First, I was confronted with the idea while reading an on-line version of Travel and Leisure Magazine entitled, “Best Places to Travel in 2015,” which you can read HERE. I did a little follow-up research on a particular recommendation to Ile-a-Vache, which literally translates as “Island to Cow.” (Seriously. “Island to Cow.” You can’t make that stuff up.) Despite the strange name, the reviews were intriguingly effusive: “Paradise on earth.” “Wish I could stay here forever.” “Breathtaking views.” Impeccable service and food” “Stunning, romantic, a joyous place to visit.” Well, then. Put that in the thought bank. Maybe put a few days on the end of a rigorous buying trip. Certainly worth considering.
Then, just this past week, I got a catalogue from “Tom’s” the trendy and philanthropic California- based shoe company. Tom’s has been involved in Haiti for years with their “Buy one – give one” program to shoe the shoeless in poverty stricken countries throughout the world. Fashion photography being what it is, everything in the catalogue looks pretty good, but WOW! Never mind the shoes. The beaches look incredible! The water, a crystaline turquoise deepening to an intense aquamarine that begs for swimming. Sans Souci, the palace of post-colonial kings, appeared as though straight out of an Indiana Jones movie, with all the exoticism and dash that

Roodlet Jacques "Palms" sculpture gives a taste of the tropical beauty of his country.

Roodlet Jacques “Palms” sculpture gives a taste of the tropical beauty of his country.

that connotes. (See more on Tom’s website under “Stories.”)

Haiti, it seems, is ready for tourism. If “Tom” can work and play there, so can we. Pack up! LET’S GO!

Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus

The First Day of Spring

Lovely floral scene struck in metal by Haitian artist, Charles Luthene

Signs of spring in metal: Growing The Flowers by Charles Luthene

While Casey is back in California, madly selling metal at the San Francisco Flower Show, I am still on the East Coast.  In Washington, D.C., now and I awoke this morning eager to greet the First Day of Spring.  With joy and anticipation, I went to the window and  raised the blinds to behold what Mother Nature would reveal.  Well, that Mother Nature, she’s quite a character, with a well-developed and somewhat ironic sense of humor.  Today, on the first day of spring, it snowed.

This should not be.  Average temperatures for this area range in the fifties by now and teasing into

These new buds are just going to have to tough out the unseasonable snowfall.

These new buds are just going to have to tough out the unseasonable snowfall.

the sixties by the end of the month. Today represents a full fourteen-degree shortfall, according to the historical weather record.  Now, I know that averages are AVERAGES, i.e. the compromise between the lowest recorded temperatures and the highest.  But COME ON!  It’s the First Day of Spring!  There should be something cosmically sacred about that, right?  Surely Mother Nature has an intrinsic obligation on the First Day of Spring to bring forth a day bright and glorious, emblematic of the season of renewal and rebirth.

You would think.  Or at least you might allow yourself to hope.  But Mother Nature clearly has a mind of her own.  Spring will come, but at her pleasure and in her own time.  We mere mortals in the Middle Atlantic will simply have to wait.


Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

Photo op with Dan Akroyd, selling his Crystal Head vodka at the Philly Flower Show 2015

“Who ya gonna call? ” Everyone! I got to shake hands with Dan Akroyd at the Flower Show!

By now you know, if you have been keeping up with our blog, that we were at the Flower Show in Philadelphia a little over a week ago. But what you may not know is that we had a brush with fame. Yes! In the aura of a true celebrity.

It was Friday afternoon and all week long we had seen posters on our way down to the booth advertising the fact that Dan Akroyd would be in the Convention Center entry hall from 2-4pm signing bottles of his “Crystal Head Vodka.” So when a man wearing a black button-down shirt with the “Crystal Head” logo embroidered on it wandered into our booth, it didn’t take much of a leap in logic to figure out that he was with the Akroyd entourage and most likely, the other man with him as well. Brief conversation confirmed our assumptions. The man in black, David, asked, “Hey, are you going to go out and get a bottle of vodka signed?” We recluctantly replied that, though we’d love to, the booth was much too busy and likely to remain so. Sadly, we wouldn’t have time to stand in line.

A bit more conversation and Casey and I had an inside track, with assurances from both David and Michael, that if we waved them down when we got to the signing event, they would expedite our access. True to their word, we were ushered straight to the signing table. In our turn, we were able to shake hands and get our photos taken with Dan Akroyd and walk away with bottles of Crystal Head in our arms, the ink of his autograph not yet quite dry. How fun! How nice of David and Michael! “Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!” We were giddy with excitement. (Read about the signing event here: http://www.crystalheadvodka.com/news/dan-aykroyd-and-the-head-stop-to-smell-the-roses )

Giddy indeed. Why weren’t we thinking? Why didn’t we take up three of our skull stakes and give them Haitian metal with OUR autographs and OUR compliments? How fun would that have been? One good turn deserves another, does it not? Coulda, shoulda, woulda….!

Autographed skull garden stake

Dan, Michael and David, this skull’s for you!  Until we meet again, this will have to suffice.  (Darn it!)







Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus




Celebrating Hollywood at the Philly Flower Show

Roses and orchids in a brilliant array of color.

Roses and orchids in a brilliant array of color.

With grandeur and opulence befitting the “Golden Age of Hollywood” the 2015 PHS Flower Show is a visual wonder. Cameras click and lights flash as visitors stop to take photo after photo of the displays, almost like paparazzi photographing A-list movie stars. But it is the flowers that stand poised in the spotlights, dazzlingly flamboyant and utterly glamorous.

It’s Cactus has been delivering a few block-busters as well. The booth has been filled daily with enthusiastic shoppers. Many are meeting us for the first time, and it is interesting to see how passers-by go from gazing curiously at the metal displays to becoming enthusiastic customers, thrilled by the “story” of hammer-wielding Haitian craftsmen transforming discarded 55-gallon steel drums into beautiful works of art. Don’t we love that!!

Halfway through the show the early favorite pieces appear to be our newest additions to the inventory. When we were in Haiti in October,

we asked Peterson Remy to make up a few single humming bird samples. He came up with a great design and we ordered as many as he could make. The are such recent additions, they haven’t even made the website yet, but we are likely to sell out of them here at the Flower Show before the week in is out. Stand by for the re-order!
Other favorites are our garden stakes (See website: http//www.itscactus.com/catalog/GARDEN_STAKES-21-1.html ) They look terrific in containers and beds alike. Flower designs, cross designs, sun faces, it doesn’t seem to matter. They are gone almost as quickly as we can wrap them up.

Garden stakes have been one of our hottest sellers!

Garden stakes have been one of our hottest sellers!

And it’s all good. Our sales here are sales for our artists in Haiti. Each item we sell is another item we can order – another cash payment for 3 square meals or housing or school or a computer for a family in Croix-des-Bouquet. “Celebrating Hollywood,” with its glitter and glamour is exciting and fun at the Flower Show, but food on a table in Haiti is by far the bigger picture. Thank you, Philly, for your support!


Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus

Sign up for our newsletter

  • Information

View Cart Go To Checkout