Monday, September 28, 2009

Customer Appreciation

I love getting pictures from my customers - its wonderful to see my work at home!

A big Thank You to Yolanda for the appreciation and the photos!

Evidence of Dancing

I love this picture of my cousin's daughter spinning around in her flower girl dress. She was doing this all night. It was a good spinning dress and absolutely cuteness.

I am back from a week of visiting family. Lots of kiddos and lots of get togethers with great food and last but not least a wedding! My cousin's wedding was beautiful and absolutely touching in many ways. I just thought I'd share a coupla pictures here on the ol' blog: (I posted more pictures HERE if you're interested) Here's evidence that I got Tim out on the dance floor, for all of 1.5 songs :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pictures from My Trip

While I am away I am still constantly taking pictures, mostly of family (we are currently visiting Tim's family, then my family on Friday)... I feel conflicted about sharing too many pictures of other peoples children on my Blogger blog here... so if you are interested in seeing some cute baby pictures, check em' out HERE on my flickr account. If you are here to read about my adventures in being a glass artist and whatnot, check back in next week when I am home again :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'll be back...

I' sitting in the PDX airport right now... this is the view out the window at my gate. Its boring waiting for flights when they make us show up so early in advance... but the internet access is spot-on so I am playing around online. I thought I'd leave a little blog entry to say I'll be back next week. I've got family visits planned for this week. A baby and a wedding. We are flying out today and back on Sunday.

And I just have to add a little side-note that cracks me up personally... the security checkpoint here in PDX was pumping out loud relaxing music, soothing contemporary stuff - the attempt of subliminal mind control to keep people calm and patient was awesome! Its like the roller coaster of subliminal messages that movie theaters play before the film starts and assures that you will want to consume popcorn and candy while watching that movie. I love it. So I asked the security lady who was handing us back our shoes and such if the music made a difference and she laughed and said unfortunately NO. Ah well... I liked the intentions.

Magically as soon as I walked away from the security checkpoint I couldn't hear the music anymore, they really have pumped it specifically into that area where people are sitting around with their pants falling down, looking for their belts and shoes... emotionally frail, their hair tossled from the air-puffer bomb detecting box and their small toiletries in clear plastic bags strewn around outside their bags. I'd like to think the soothing music helps. It certainly made me smile.

Monday, September 21, 2009

This morning I was filmed for TV

Here I am with Brooke (the lifestyle correspondent for Better Portland) and Eric (the man behind the camera). They were a great team, very friendly and professional and casual. I cannot say enough good things about Eric and Brooke - the were great to work with. It was relatively fun! I made a ring for Brooke while we chatted about the Portland Saturday Market and my business. The shop was alive with action, there were a 4 lovely ladies torchworking and another 4 people were working on some glass fusing projects. I am not usually in the studio on Monday mornings (after a long weekend vending at the Portland Saturday Market I stay home Monday morning) so it was fun to see so many friendly faces! I hope they all enjoyed (or at least didn't mind too much) having a FOX tv crew up in their space!

Oh I forgot to mention this will air October 16th at 1pm on Fox 12 Better

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rainy Saturday at the Portland Saturday Market

Saturday was a rainy morning at the Portland Saturday Market. Classic local weather... a constant drizzle, occasional real rain, persisting for hours. It was drab, and wet. I am getting used to my new/used tent and the top collects water, which I have to spill out in little waterfalls. Kinda scary. These tents do that! I have ideas though, techniques that will improve this situation... the tighter I get the corners - the more taught I can get the top to pull (which decreases pooling water) and also my neighbor had a great make-shift use of some clamps to push the canopy up. Oh yeah. Next time I will do better. This Saturday I was soggy. Did I mention the seams leak in my new top as well? Terribly. I was pretty wet.

Anyhow - the weather spiffed up a bit in the afternoon. It was actually a nice day after about 3pm. We had some great entertainment at the market - these guys rocked out. I meant to buy their CD and the picture here doesn't show their name. Woops. Any shout outs to who these guys were?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What Am I Doing Monday Morning? Filming for local Fox TV show!

I am going to be on KPTV Fox channel 12 sometime soon... filming is this coming Monday at the Aquila Glass School featuring me - local Portland Saturday Market vendor, glass artist, torchworking teacher, crafty-lady... so sometime soon a small segment will air on the show BETTER (I will update with video when its available)

This TV appearance has been organized by Reid Decker, the advertising coordinator for the Portland Saturday Market - thanx Reid.

Hope it's fun... I've never worked with "Better" before, the show airs at 1pm on weekdays. I gather its sorta like a locally oriented daytime news show. I am all about advertising in any way I can!

Friday, September 18, 2009

How do I deal with my scrap?

Today I continued to attack my scrap glass piles (its all gems of colorful goodness, just dirty and sharp and needing TLC). This time I took pictures!

Above you can see how I am dealing with a bunch of blue scrap. The blue bin was so full that I had to deal with some of it - otherwise I couldn't sort any more scrap bucket cuz there was no room for blue in the blue bin! Oh no! So what I do (and I am much more productive when my dear Aimee helps me!) is cut the funny shaped bits up into regular sizes of squares and triangles. These bits are then put in containers for quick access.

Today I even cleaned the glass as I went!! (clearly this is not something I enjoy doing) For a while I had been lubricating the scoring device with mineral spirits, but when I realized how freakin' toxic the fumes from this substance (thanx Jan for educating me!!!) I switched to vegetable oil. Then my friend Denis invested in some great blue glass cutting lubricant that is water soluble (so it washes off the glass really nicely!) - that is what I use now, so most of the scrap is really easy to clean. However the scrap that was covered in vegetable oil now is covered in dust and dirt and glass splinters. And the vegetable oil/silica combo has turned into some sort of strange resin. Its not easy to clean off. I tried the normal glass cleaner (a vinegar water concoction), then warm soapy water, finally I scraped the shit off. The ironic part is that the toxic brain killer mineral spirit I was using in the first place would make a great cleaner to get the strange vegetable oil/silica turned resin off the glass. Hmph. I hate cleaning.
Anyhow - here I am sorting out the bucket... big paint bucket filled weighs 50lbs... I sort it by color so I can then use the glass up. You can see I have laid big crates around to collect the glass bits, they stack nicely and hold a lot of pieces... I've used smaller plastic ice cream tubs for the colors I have less of (like white)...

Then the next step is what was pictured first... I take the glass and clean it up a bit and cut it up more into pieces: square and triangles in sizes that I use to make mini mobiles and earrings.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Originally uploaded by LeahPellegrini
Yesterday my dear friend Aimee met me at the studio to sort scrap. Whew. I had stopped at Ikea and purchased six clear plastic containers for Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Purple. These do not really do the job entirely, but I like them :)

Its dirty work. I forgot to take pictures! My hands were covered in glass dust and dirt and oil (oil lubricates the cutter). Most of the scraps are from cutting circles, so its sharp corner bits from the outsides of circles.

I'll take more pictures later to show the mayhem.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

the dress I found

This is the dress I found to wear to my cousin's wedding. Its creme and black printed fabric with black trim. The fabric is beautiful, sort of a paisley lotus flower kind of thing - rocking out in B/W, well creme, but still. I altered the straps to fit me properly - oooh - I still need to sew them down! They are safety-pinned at the moment :) This is the nicest thing I've ever bought from the Goodwill (it hadn't even been worn before, still had tags on it) - do I dare mention it was only $20!!

I found shoes at Marshalls and a shawl from the import market downtown, each only cost me $20. I am now prepared for this fall wedding and no budgets were broken - for shizzle! Yeah!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Make Your Own Vanilla Extract

Tempting? Expensive vanilla extract can be made DIY style for less $$ and more fun!

Here's what I did:

1. I bought some vanilla beans off Ebay - for $10.99 (and free shipping!) I purchased 20 Grade A Tahitian Vanilla beans and I received 22 of these beans and 10 Grade B beans extra for free!! What a steal - I paid about 35cents a bean!

2. Find some bottles. I used the beautiful brown bottle in the picture. I bought them from my friend Rachel - she uses these bottles for her wonderful Aromatherapy

3. Buy some booze - vodka to be precise - 3/4 cup for every bean is the ratio I used approximately (I actually used 4 ounces for each bean)

4. There are many many recipes online, they vary slightly... this is what I did with my friends... we heated the vodka (don't boil it! just heat it up a bit) and split the beans, scraped out the bean goodness and put the scrapings and the bean shells into the jars. Then pour the hot vodka into the jar to fill and put the lid on.

5. Shake the jar, shake it once a day for a week and then voila - vanilla extract!

I even read that you can refill the bottle as you use it up, just top it off with more vodka. It lasts for a couple of years. Oh yeah. This is much less expensive than the stuff you find in stores!

Then since I had way more beans then I needed for the extract, I also purchased a bottle of decent vodka (the extract was made with cheap stuff) and put some split beans in the bottle - DIY vanilla vodka. hm.... I think it will smell good :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Screams of Joy

All day at the Portland Saturday Market I listen to screams of joy from the kids playing in the fountain. Its awesome. Sometimes funny, mostly its just cute. Occasionally there are screams that sound like bloody murder, but there is a smiling frolicking child behind that blood curdling noise.

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day at the Market - in September - in Portland! Go figure. So I put my shade top back on the booth and cooked like a slab of bacon. It was ridiculously hot in my booth. It was beautiful, don't get me wrong. It was hot in my booth... I drank a lot of water and I sweated. I brought my wonderful new sunhat though, and that was helpful (and fun to get another opporutnity to wear it!!)

Sunday the Pacific NW cloudy sky rolled in and contrary to the weather reports (which called for mostly sunny, high upper 80s) it rained in the afternoon. And I had my shade top on my tent which is NOT water retardant - in fact its more of a weird mesh weeve, so the rain just rained right thru it. Yep. I got rained on, under my tent. I honestly considered going to my car and getting an umbrella to stand under, as in stand under my booth with an umbrella over my head to keep my dry. What a site that would have been! Luckily my work could care less, the mobiles were dancing in the wind and looking beautiful with rain, its more just me... and a few labels on product packaging... but I simply decided to repackage a few things later and not really worry too much in the moment - my regular tent top was in storage too far away and I crossed my fingers that the rain would just stop. In the meantime I went and got myself some beans and rice from Donna Lola and it stopped raining. Then it got sunny and warm again.

Ah Portland in the fall. Its fall now. hm...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

USPS Virtual Box Simulator

This is pretty neat, using a printout of the USPS logo and your webcam... however I must admit that a much easier way to know what box will fit your item best is to just have a few of the different sizes available on hand at home. They are FREE boxes after all :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Self Portrait with Life Size Art

While I had this piece hanging for a photo-shoot (documenting custom work to email to the client) I got crazy and put myself in front of the camera with my work! This one is sorta life-size, so I thought it would be fun to get in the shot.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about what it is like to be a full time artist. One word keeps plucking a string in my brain: Vulnerability.

I think being a full time artist is vulnerable lifestyle choice. Or at least it is for me. Don't get me wrong, vulnerability can be a really good thing - taking down the walls around my heart, letting people in and letting stress go... its a good thing. Makes me breath easy just thinking about it.

However, being vulnerable is notoriously avoided, as it can lead to great hurt and harm. Two sides to every coin eh?!

So what do I mean that I feel vulnerable as an artist?
Seriously - anyone can find me quite easily, both online and in person - I unabashedly use my birth given name to promote myself and my work. Also I sell my work every weekend at the market, thus putting my person out there very available to the world. I am very much aware that anyone can walk right up to me and find me - I have a sign on the back of my booth that says my name!

Let alone the fact that I love what I do. Love is a vulnerable place to be! Artists put their heart on their sleeves so-to-speak... this makes us very vulnerable. Profoundly. Unless isolated in your studio with no desire for feedback what-so-ever... but then without feedback and sales, how is an artist supposed to go on thriving and growing.... again, there two sides to every coin!

Another personal example of all this vulnerability is I've always felt particularly uncomfortable in front of the camera - but in order to promote me and my work, its the voyeur in all of us that wants to see pictures of the artist with the work... online the only way to share this perspective is by getting in front of the lens. *gulp*

What are the huge slugs in Oregon!

Oregon has some huge slimy slugs. This critter pictured above was at least 6-7inches long.
Even though they give me the heebeegeebees I had to take some shots of them... the texture in their skin is neat and the rusty old train tracks made for great pictures! I like how you can see his slimy trail in this shot below
I am not sure, but I think these two slugs are getting it on! Slug sex! Kinda looks like a yin yang with a ball of foam in the middle.
The thing that was freaking me out the most about these gigantic slugs, was they were all over the train tracks and I was afraid of accidentally stepping on them. Oooo slimy shoes - that'd be gross.There were a lot of neat caterpillars too! Seemed like every one looked different. (I called the one above the "camo caterpillar") And it definitely seemed like caterpillar time of year (is there such a thing) because they were everywhere, chillin', movin' along, munching leaves and being cute...
I took so many pictures of a couple of them, I made stop-motion films! So cute!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Following the Salmonberry River Train Track

Today I went on a walk along the old Salmonberry River train track. The tracks themselves are now unused. I thought it would make for a great hike and really neat pictures. I brought along the Nikon D80 to play around a bit.

A swollen river last year rocked this train track, blew out the bridge and many mud slides covered the Salmonberry River train track
It was difficult to find, sortof, I did a crap job of trying to follow the directions, and frankly, they read that you drive 11 miles or so down this small road until you cross the train tracks and you park on the left. Well now the road just ends where the river blew out the bridge and the train tracks. So you just park at the end of the road where you can see there is a Train Crossing sign sorta leaning over lamely. Kind of an odd experience. But we found it! Yeah! (side note, we actually missed a key turn on the drive and ended up driving all the way out to the beach and had lunch with some pushy sea gulls before turning around and trying a second time to find the road to drive down to find this obscure location!!)
The birds wanted our sandwiches.
After our beach distraction, and stop to refuel and recharge, we set out to find this crazy Salmonberry train track place.
It was really beautiful to walk down the tracks. The trail guide described it as a "Stand by Me hiking experience"... "Have you ever wanted to wander off down the railroad tracks? This is your chance. The Port of Tillamook Bay allows hiking access on this not active 16 mile section through a roadless canyon in the Coast Range."(60 Hikes winthin 60 Miles: Portland)

I thought this would be awesome!
I enjoyed it. Walking along the train tracks was hell on the ankles, brilliant for concentration, and I couldn't get over the imagery. I loved the big steel bridges. The river was beautiful, I can only imagine what it looks like when the water is higher.
It was a bit disappointing, but somehow integral to Oregon all the same, there was a big patch of active logging going on. It was late enough in the day that they seemed to be shut down for the moment, but you could see all the equipment at the top of a bald patch. We stopped when we actually hit road blocks in the tracks concerning the logging activity. I want to go back and hike to this little remote ghost town of Enright. A train station and a post office, sort of two ramshackle old houses from the 1920s. I want to see that! Next time :)

This time I saw logging.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Wet Weekend

Its been raining here in Portland this weekend. I was "rained out" of the market this weekend. Okay, so I am a wuss and I just didn't feel like hanging out in the bad weather all weekend, outdoors, trying to sell my artwork?! No thank you. But rest assure the Portland Saturday Market is open rain or shine, I just didn't happen to be there.

Image is from back in 2001 - me underwater in Koh Tao, Thailand.

Friday, September 4, 2009

What's in My Drawers

As a follow-up to my Ode to Trays, I thought I show whats in my drawers.

After accumulating a large stack (10) of plastic drawer inserts from Ikea, I finally broke down and bought the metal drawers that the plastic trays were meant to go in! Two of these drawer units and a piece of wood from the ReBuilding Center and voila - a desk!
I put this together for myself over a year ago and it has served me well. Not only does it organize the bits for me and get the trays off the floor, but its a good desk! The yoga ball makes an excellent chair also.
Here is what the tray looks like empty: its nice and deep, its inexpensive, the individual compartments aren't overly small (those bead/fishing plastic organizers have such small compartments) and I like the variety of sizes of the 5 compartments in each tray.

And heres what the trays look like in my drawers:

Sneak Peak Into My Studio: Trays

I use a lot of trays. Some of them even get friendly labels :) I love my label gun thing too.

I use so many different types of trays. Mainly for organizational purposes, but also because I like to work in my lap, so trays make it easy to have a good work surface and carry things from room to room.

The following are some pictures of trays that I use... the first is an awesome set, mostly just because it is orange.... and it is 3-in-1 which is just great. I keep my O-rings and S-hooks in these (handmade O-Rings, to see how I make them click HERE)
This next tray is a favorite of mine, found it at Ikea, its sorta small, but great for assembling the parts needed for a project.
Oh these bamboo trays are fantastic. A friend of mine found them at the Dollar-Store and now I have a dozen of them, which really, quantity alone makes them very useful in my studio. They have a slotted bottom which is sorta a PITA (little things fall thru), but like I said, I have a dozen of them stacked up in my closet, and this just comes in handy.
The next trays I found at the craft store, actually there were 3 in this embedded-wooden-tray-set... the third tray has gone m.i.a. You can see in the next picture that the bottom tray magically fits my labeled packages for mini mobiles. The top tray fits the stuff that I need to prep the packages...
see... the clear plastic bags with labels stuck to them and fishing line already inserted inside (I always include a little fishing line in the package to help hang the mobile) are all snug and happily waiting in the bottom tray
This next tray is one of those drawer-inserts that can be found at Ikea... I use them to organize bits for mini mobiles...
The next tray is just a simply cheapo found at the local store in the Rubbermaid section... very useful, I have a handful of them. This one had prisms in it at the moment...

these are also a Rubbermaid find... I like em'. I think they are supposed to be used as inserts in drawers to organize stuff. My mother always used these in our kitchen drawers to hold things and keep it all looking good and pretty.
The last two trays are from Ikea. They have a whole section of trays that I am always getting lost in. Why are trays sold to hold cocktails? I mean, that is a good use for them, but so single-minded. The crafty-person like myself uses these trays for much more than just a drink. For realz

I have a couple of nice wooden trays, this one has a handle, which I thought would be great, but its pretty big, so once I have it loaded down with glass pieces its quite heavy. I have another wooden Ikea number that is sort of boat shaped... its beautiful but sort of useless... everything rolls to the center.

Alright, that is my ode to trays.

I do love trays.
I always keep my eye out for them.
If I see a tray in the store and its cheap, I tend to take it home with me.