Monday, November 30, 2009

Outdoor Market in the Winter?

I found this picture in my booth last weekend - I thought it'd be funny to share what I look like all wrapped up in layers

It gets cold in Portland by December, not crazy cold (just sorta in the 40s) and no snow (just rain), but cold enough to make you wonder who the crazy artists are that are selling their work at an outdoor market.

There are techniques: heaters (no plug in units because they use too much electricity so we use the ones that hook up to tanks of gas), the little hand warmers (you know the things you put in your pockets that heat up from a chemical reaction), heat pads to sit on (like small electric blankets - in fact some vendors bring down electric blankets - although again we have electricity rules: each vendor is only allowed to consume so much juice and between the extra lighting and holiday twinkling lights we already use more power per booth in the winter, the plug-in heaters are really not so much the best thing to use down there) and then there are the other normal strategies of layering longjohns, turtlnecks, sweaters and jackets, mittens, wool socks, warm boots, hats and scarves. We may look silly all wrapped up in layers - but thousands of shoppers come out to do their holiday shopping at the Portland Saturday Market. So we are there.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cyber Monday 2009 Sale!

Shopping for Cyber Monday Sales? Here ya go!!

Orcchini Collection
great gifts at only $12.50ea
on SALE for $10ea

I have a large stock of these in
many colors - so if you’d like to
order in quantity just let me know!

Want to get
a show stopper this year?

Something to really stun
the whole family...
this mobile is a favorite of
mine - it needs a good home!

How about gifts for the office?

Computer Mobiles!!

Regular Price: $25ea

Sale Price: $15ea

Sale is only 11-30-09 from 10am-10pm PST and I am throwing in some extra fun sale action:

FREE SHIPPING + a FREE gift with every order!!

fine print: contact me when you have finished shopping and I will send you a revised invoice reflecting the sale price

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day Time or Night Time

My holiday season has officially commenced. I didn't do any kind of black friday action, but today I was out selling my artwork to the masses in downtown Portland Oregon.

The Saturday Market was pretty bopping today. Good weather + holiday = lots of traffic. It was pretty cold, but nice out none the less. And it got dark by around 4:30 so I thought this day/night image was funny. I am amused by my new x-mas lights on the ol' booth. They were the first thing I set up this morning, and little plastic snowflakes. I thought it came together nicely.
I was so tired by the time I got done today. At the moment I can't believe I have to go back tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday Production

I'd like to give a big shout out to my assistant Aimee. She is a good friend and damn good help! Especially after being sick with da flu for 2 weeks I was overwhelmed in the need for production. Holiday shows demand lots and lots of extra inventory. I am so fortunate to have good help.

Creating things en mass continues in the Garden of Leah. Today it was studio time making lots of glass bits with Aimee, prep-work for mass kiln firing. Tomorrow its sorting, cleaning and wire bending. Thursday is cooking and indulging. Friday its back to work :) Saturday I'll be at the market and it looks like we might get good weather for the big weekend!

Local Portlanders - do come out and shop at the Portland Saturday Market this weekend!!! Please! Its such a great place to shop for holiday gifts and the artists could really use your financial help. Many of the booths got blown down and destroyed last weekend. Seriously 40-50booths got tossed by wind gusts last Saturday night and many of the structures were broken. No artwork was lost, but many vendors lost their booths and display structures. Personally I had taken my booth down on Saturday night after vending, I wasn't interested in selling on Sunday, it was just too darned cold this weekend. But I stopped down on Sunday morning to sign out (I had forgotten the day before) and do some volunteer duty... and the site I arrived to was such a mess of destruction and chaos. I have never seen so many booths destroyed. If there was ever a time to come and spend money down at the PSM - this is it!!!

And I cannot tell you how much it would mean to me if you gave your friends or family a mobile for the holidays. They will love it! And your purchases make a big difference in my little life.

Hey if you can't afford a mobile - how about a little craft mobile making kit for a great gift for only $20!

Repetitive Circle Cutting

This is for Michelle - you asked for it! :)

I post so many pictures of all my circle cutting... my friend Shoozles on Etsy asked to see a video... so here it is. My apologies - its a bit boring (but I sped it up so the video is about 5min)

this video is not a tutorial - my technique is my own and I take no responsibility for people hurting themselves doing silly things - kids don't try this at home :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blue and Green Glass Mobile

One of my favorite color combinations - blue and green.
It came to my attention I did not have this mobile listed in my online catalog... surprising to me because I have been making it for years and I absolutely love this display of blue and green circles. In fact, I was shocked to find out that I had never done a photo-shoot with this color combo - no pictures at all?! None, the only documentation I have of this blue and green yumminess is from customers of mine. This is one of my most popular mobiles that I sell at the Portland Saturday Market, many happy customers have taken them home for colorful kitchens, beautiful gardens, a happy office, a baby nursery, etc... the colors are bright and calm at the same time.

So yesturday I got some pictures (the sun even came out for a few quick moments to help add light) and put this mobile up online.
Now you can purchase this glass mobile in blue and green directly from my Etsy store - its ready and available for you. Click any of the pictures to check it out. The mobile is about 2ft in diameter for $120 (shipping costs $15) - it comes fully assembled and wrapped up in a foam lined box.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

my 100 mile diet

I've been watching this show, the 100 Mile Challenge. A community in Canada tried to eat only local food for 100 days. The authors of the book the 100 Mile Diet got six families in the town of Mission (which is near Vancouver BC) to volunteer to do a 100% 100 mile diet for 100 days. All the families had problems with coffee/sugar(much including beer and booze)/chocolate - because none of these things were allowed in the diet - but food addictions aside, they all seemed to enjoy the challenge.
Personally in my life, I aspire to be a locavore. I live in Portland - how could I not?! There are local breads, local vegies, local herbs, local meats, local eggs, local cheese, local yogurt, local milk, local nuts... it all can easily be found in Portland Oregon. I know my location makes my diet very possible. In fact, I don't really consider it a 100 mile diet - its simply eating at a "locavore" = local loving diet.

To me its all about pleasure. Food can be great! Pleasure is picking the fruit out on Sauvie Island and making a tart with local Bob's Red Mill flour and Tillamook butter and honey from my friend Dave the bee-keeper at the Portland Saturday Market (all of these sources meet the 100 mile diet rules). Half the fun is the scavenger hunt for the goods - the other half is the delicious yumminess of the locally sourced food.

But lets be honest - there is a bigger picture here... one part is the rediculousness of eating food that has been trucked from state to state, from the source to the manufacturing to distribution center to retail stores and whatnot - why not eat what is made right around me?! Secondly however is the bounty of the global cultures and modern convenience. Frankly, why live without coffee/chocolate/tea/etc?! Whatever your pleasure - I think its good to indulge that inclination, why not?! I think there is a happy medium.

There is so much more to the idea of eating locally... there is a harmony in creating locally sourced meals. Yogurt made from local dairy and cultures have the enzymes that will aid in digesting local proteins and whatnot. Seasonal produce has the vitamins and nutrients that our bodies crave at different times of the year. If we actually ate what was produced in our surrounding areas we would have less digestive disorders and less obesity.

And - it doesn't have to be more expensive to eat locally! I watched the finale of that 100 mile show and was pleased to see that they broke down the cost factor of this challenge. One participant kept all her receipts for the 100 days of local eatting. This particular participant is a fabulous cook that provides for her family of 2 kids, a husband and her mother. She said she spends around $600/month on food normally - and by the time she had finished the challenge she was spending about the same for all locally sourced food. She was very honest though, the first month she spent $1200 (twice as much as normally!) but then she quickly got the hang of it and started focusing on what was in season rather than what her family was accustom to eating. This brought her cost back down and while everyone ate well and stuffed themselves, they all lost weight!! By cutting all the bullshit out of their diets all the participants lost significant amounts of weight.

I hope in time I will continue to get better at eating locally, observing the seasons in my diet, and appreciating the bounty of the work done in my local surroundings. In the meantime I enjoy the hunt, and if anyone is curious about my finds or has any great tips - please do share! This seems to be a favorite topic of mine lately :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

I had to take a picture of these persimmon

My friend Yasu gave me these two persimmon from the fruit trees in his yard. He has told me how he wraps the ripening fruit on the branches in bags (still on the tree) so that the birds don't eat them all. The bright orange attracts them and they know which fruit are perfectly ripe and they beat him to it, even with the bags they are still eating them! So he picked a couple early, just to make sure the birds don't eat them all. I think they are so amazingly beautiful, the orange color is just wonderful.
These are the earrings I wear all the time. The little bitty ones above and the orange mobiles below. If you'd like to buy some like them, say for gifts or such, the pictures are click-a-ble :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Printed Plates

slowly but surely I am getting a more listed in the LeJa Etsy shop...
all these pictures are click-a-ble to buy-a-ble listings :)

This is an image of crows dancing. Jan calls this carving "Crows dancing badly" - that makes me laugh!I love the feathers, such a darling pair. This little plate would make the most perfect little tea bag plate. A wonderful gift for my grandmother... hm... my mother uses tea bag plates as well - Mom - pick a print! :) I'll hook you up

and I think I may make a whole set of plates for myself that have birds sitting on telephone lines... one day I plan to do this.
Ah the buffalo carving - for some reason I adore this carving and Jan laughs and says no one will buy it. I think its awesome.Listing all these plates online is fun, its an exercise in showing off Jan's illustrations and linoleum block carvings.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

showshoeing II

Snowshoeing today...

we are going out snowshoeing today. its almost noon now... we're about to leave (I hope!) and head up Mt Hood to check out the snow for the first time this season and get some exercise.

for any readers of the ol' Garden of Leah that happen to be local - have you ever used to check out the conditions on Mt Hood before you head up. I love the video function! Click on the little video camera icons on the map and you get a live feed of what the highway looks like - here you can see Government Camp. Snow!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Make Your Own Mobile Kit

I have a new crafty kit available for the holidays!
A mobile making kit! Comes in a clear plastic tube complete with instructions and everything you'll need to make your own little mobile.

This is a great holiday gift for that crafty special someone...
I've been stocking up for holiday shows and I thought it'd be great to have a new packaging for a special little kit - I feel like a product like this is all about packaging. Something that looks fun to buy and complete in its own little box. So I looked around a bit and found these great little clear plastic tubes. They are just big enough to hold a few golf balls - OR - a bunch of goodies that you could use to make your own mobile! :)

As someone that enjoys mobiles, I think one of these kits would be the best holiday present ever!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

taking down my booth in the dark...

Today was the first day this year that I've had to take down my booth at the Portland Saturday Market in the dark. The sun sets so early here in the winter. I like how the booths look all lit up in the dark. So I wanted to share a few pictures :)
Seems the sun is setting around 4:30pm now. The market closes at 5pm - so we get to take down in the dark!
Here's a picture of my booth once I've taken everything down, all I have left to do is put that one pile of tubs (in the middle of the booth) in my car and unplug my lights. I am vending again tomorrow, and we have security at night, so the physical structure of my booth stays put overnight.
Here's what it looked like this morning, it was sorta foggy, but then it turned into a beautiful fall day. Not a drop of rain, that was wonderful!
There's a group of Canadian geese hanging out in Waterfront Park lately... they look beautiful against the greens and reds of the fall foliage. I think they eat breakfast on the lawn in the morning. I had to take some pictures, there are more on my flickr account.Oh and whats up with this random Santa sighting? I actually stopped them and tried to ask what they were up to, no real results from that inquiry. It was not a pub crawl (although they were certainly drunk, rather clean though I must add) and not anything organized (although they were indeed all in matching santa outfits, way tooo early for xmas). One of the Santas had a cardboard sign that said "will Ho for booze" and in the moment I stopped to question them there were two homeless men serenading them with the "here comes santa claus" song. All around, an odd encounter.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jan and I had our last printing session for 2009 today. It was celebratory considering this has been our first year of collaborative printing and experimenting. Every weekend our printed plates and mobiles are getting found and bought by happy customers and in the last week we have suddenly had our first online sales.
So we printed a few plates and circles today, drank iced tea and took note of our first year of selling collaborative work. It takes a while to both fuse and slump the printed glass (there is a queue for the kiln space) and its somewhat of a scheduling challenge to co-ordinate printing sessions... so that is why this is our last big print for the year. We'll see if we run out of printed glass to sell before the holiday season is over!!

I have a few more new plates to list online now too... I'll post here when its done

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cutting Circles

this is me trying to be organized with these 350+ circles soon to be more holiday inventory... my fingertips are covered in little bitty cuts from so many sharp edges! Fortunately these little tiny cuts don't hurt and they didn't bleed. Except my left index finger hurts when I type. dammit.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fly Fishing Mobile

I had to take a screen shot of this listing on Etsy - it simply turned out really nice. I love it. Suiting to fit a beautiful mobile. I am glad I finally listed it online! :)

I want to make your studio a mobile!

A few weeks ago I was reading an article on the Etsy blog about photography - it was called "Seller Tip: Present Yourself to the Press" Great article - to sum it up: all artists and small business people should be prepared with a good head shot and/or a good shot of their studio. These pictures should be quality, ready on demand and high resolution. This way when a magazine or blog contacts you for an interview you are ready! I couldn't agree more.
So here's the story I am trying to share: while reading this article I noticed this picture (the one above) and I fixated on this beautiful little Italian studio space, something about it made me swoon and I instantly wanted to make a mobile for this space (maybe I just want to sit in that hammock and gaze at a mobile - wouldn't that be a nice way to take a nap?!) I'm not sure if its the fact that the studio is in Italy, or the bright colors and maps and embroidery hoops on the wall... something about it caught my attention.

So I emailed the artist and told her so! This is very unlike me - I have never done anything like this... and when she got back to me enthusiastically I realized that I had to follow thru with the offer!
This is the mobile I made... after digging around in my drawer of random circles (I always seem to have some extra laying around, so I try and herd them into a particular drawer and occasionally they come in very handy - like now!) I made this beautiful mobile for that wonderful little Italian studio.

Then I imposed the picture of the mobile into the picture of the studio - I wanted to see what it may look like!
And now I am thinking that this was really fun! I figure its my good karma for the year... and now I am thinking that it'd be fun to do a contest called "I want to make a mobile for your studio" and take submissions of studio shots and the one that most inspires me to make a mobile for their space would win one! What fun. I wonder how I could effectively advertise this... more thoughts to come. For now I just wanted to share the story

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Printed Glass in the LeJa Shop

The LeJa shop finally has more printed glass available online! Slowly but surely I am trying to get a wide selection of Jan's hand-carved images represented online... there are so many more its exciting! Here are 5 I listed today:
"Water Faucet" available in 4 different colors $14ea

"Ducks in a Row" $14ea. available in 4 colors

"Rubber Duck" available in 2 colors $9ea

"Oak Leaf" $19

the view this morning...

Its cold and raining outside. I am not vending at the Portland Saturday Market this weekend. Instead I have been hiding out at home and in the studio getting stuff done. For real, this extra time is great for banging out the to-do list.

The kitty outside is looking very fat and fluffy lately. He's happy this morning, getting lots of neck scratches and a big breakfast.

I've been cooking - I bought a big white pumpkin to make pie with, I had heard "ghost pumpkins" make great pie... the one I bought at the farmers market was 10lbs so I have to make lots of pumpkin stuff now. First I made 2 pies (they were delicious!) one normal pumpkin pie and one chocolate pumpkin number - I highly recommend the chocolate pumpkin pie. And then yesturday I made a pumpkin beef beer stew. This was great as well, very flavorful with the hoppy beer Tim likes. Today I am going to make another pie and I thought I'd try putting pumpkin in spaghetti sauce - why not! The white pumpkin is really good, its very buttery and flavorful. I just have too much of it.

These are some circles and whatnot hanging from my back covered porch.

This is the view out my bedroom window... the birdfeeder is empty now, the outdoor kitty likes to kill the cute little birds, so I feel guilty stocking the feeder and luring them in for the kill.
Hope you are enjoying this rainy weekend.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cardboard Wire Cutting Jig

I cut a lot of steel wire... I have stencils for the lengths that I need for different designs... but I needed a jig to really make the job easy. I pay my friend Aimee to cut the little bitty steel wires for my mini mobiles, so I thought she deserved a jig as well! Too many wires, its maddening, a jig was sooo very necessary!
This is what I did: I took a sturdy cardboard tube and cut slots 1/3 of the way thru the tube (with a hand held wood cutter) and then I cut a scrap of sheet metal (okay so I happened to have scrap sheet metal laying around and the cool wacky scissors that are used to cut the stuff) I traced the tube onto the scrap of sheet metal so I could get the right curve and then folded over the other end so I could handle it safely. Basically the idea was to create a metal "stop" so wire could be shoved in the tube and always stop at the same length.
I like this so much! Its very efficient to cut a lot of wires at once. There's a bit of variance with the longer wires (the wire catches on the cardboard) but I love it none-the-less!
Pictured is the smaller jig I made for the mini mobiles... then I also took a video of the larger jig

the video is a little odd and it doesn't show how excited I am about this... honestly, ask Aimee - I was showing it off last week when she was at the studio. Its very exciting stuff in my world!