They have poured cement into gloves and put hours of labor into painting little garden chairs, seeding hanging baskets, planting succulents in pink high heels and Mustang wheels, and cutting hundreds of mirror fragments — by hand — for mosaic gazing balls, birdbaths and stepping stones.
One would think the members of P.E.O. Chapter CO would be ready to throw in the trowel.
No way, say a group of intrepid CO members.
“We have enjoyed working on these things so much,” said Barb Shaw of Kelso.
Finishing her thought, Janet Oyer of Kalama said “we have to continue doing something. It’s so much fun.”
The P.E.O. sale is one of three taking place on Friday and/or Saturday — a blooming array of plant starts, yard art, flowering baskets and baked goods from Kelso to Kalama.
The ring leaders of CO’s fundraising bonanza are Jeanette Inman of Longview, who once owned Rainbow’s End Fabrics in Portland, and Janet Oyer of Kelso, former owner of Green Mountain Floral Boutique.
The two bring a wealth of experience to the fanciful objects the group makes from scratch, pouring cement into molds for birdbath pedestals and shallow basins permanently imprinted with ferns and rhubarb leaves.
Working in each other’s garages and shops since February, the team, which includes Paula Moore of Kalama and Mary Carter of Kelso, has painted little wooden chairs and stools in bright shades of lime, yellow, aqua and raspberry.
The chairs can display an indoor plant or a pot of flowers outside.
The women have applied grout to mosaic stepping stones and terra cotta pots, and fashioned planters from watering cans, berry crates and blue enamel canning pots.
“I was scrubbing pots this morning and my husband was drilling holes in them” for drainage once the containers hold plants, Carter said.
They raided Pinterest for some ideas, said Inman, but many of the ingenious yard art people will find at the Mother’s Day Plant Sale were dreamed up by the P.E.O. members themselves.
Why go to these lengths?
The answer is hinted at on a door leading to Inman’s workshop, where a quote from Mahatma Gandhi is displayed. “Be the change you wish to see in this world.”
The plant sale “is all for scholarships for women,” Inman said. The sole purpose of all P.E.O. chapter fundraisers is college scholarship awards. Thus the name Philanthropic Education Organization.
The timing of the sale also has meaning for many in P.E.O. who follow in the footsteps of their mothers when they become members. Moore and Shaw, who are sisters, joined because their mother, Elaine Dick, belonged.
“It’s such a nice group of ladies,” Shaw said. “We feel really close.”