Friday, July 31, 2009

Truck Farming

I recently read amost wonderful book by Novella Carpenter about a woman (the author) farming on squatted land in Oakland. Its called Farm City and I highly recommend it! She's an urban farmer that raises crops as well as animals, I love this concept! Last weekend my friend Maggie (who found this book and happens to be an urban farmer herself) went on a "Coup Tour" of chicken coups all over the Portland area. She said one of the chicken coups was all decked out with a solar door that would open at sunrise and close at sunset (there were other geeky details of this particular coup that I forget). There are chicken coups and little farms all over Portland. I have tomatoes growing upsidedown and long beans trailing up my lamp-post in front of my house... its not much but I get to eat the vegies of my labor :)

Anyhow I digress... this video below is part of a series that is being released on YouTube... so far you can see the first two episodes.



Don't Worry Be Happy

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Printing on Glass

After much patience and hard work - our printing on glass tutorial is now for sale on Etsy!!!

click here to purchase

Here's what you get with purchase:
  • step by step info (its a PDF file)
  • pictures of process and experiments
  • video
  • supply lists and suppliers
  • information about what pigments make what colors after firing
Its 22 pages of goodness. Really - its worth it! As Jan likes to say "$300 in 2 months" and you can now purchase all this information for only $20.

Mobile Hanging in Panama

This beautiful bathroom in Panama is owned by a lovely couple that I met at the Portland Saturday Market. They brought a mobile of mine home with them and hung it in this magical space.

Can I travel vicariously thru my work and be down there right now? Maybe if I say please :)

And I love this quote (from the owner) : "there is no better view then sitting on the 'throne'. "
Thanks for sending me pictures!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Images on Glass Experiments Ready for Publishing!

Upcoming soon (maybe in the next couple days!?) the booklet Jan and I have been creating, a collection of our experiments and instructions for how to print images into glass... its soon to be available for purchase!
I will be announcing the actual availabilty here in my blog soon... today we finished it up (it was 106degrees out in the shade today, so I hid in Jan's airconditioned studio and we banged out the finishing touches on the booklet). We were so excited to actually finish it! Jan even bound a black/white printed copy and she bound it with orange thread! We even got started creating a listing for it online. Whoopee!

Hot Weather

Its so damn hot here in Portland right now. I swear the weather is laughing at us. We all love P-Town for the "mild" weather and frequent drizzly days.... too bad this year we got a full on frozen snowy winter and now a hot hot hot summer. Not so mild if you ask me. Its like a weather smack down.

So I am up early and outside trying to enjoy the brief few hours of cool temps before the hot hot hot sets in. Yesterday I did this too. I got up early and then went outside and took a nap in my hammock, then I got some work done on my picnic table... although work in this weather is a bit strange... thinking in this heat is difficult.
I sorta love hot weather, everything looks so beautiful in the sun... but I do not have AC and my body/mind gets sick of the heat eventually. Yesterday when the thermometers got up above 105degrees I ended up going to the Mall with my brother and boyfriend. We wandered uselessly, loitering in the bookstore, lingering by the ice rink (yes there is an ice rink in the mall here in Portland), I bought some squishy slippers that were on sale at Brookstone (because warm fuzzy slippers are what I need in this heat?!) and then we hid out in the movie theater and watched Harry Potter. I haven't been a mall rat since I was a pre-teen, but what can I say, it was a cool 75degrees in the mall, and that was nice!

Anyhow, I am just whining about the heat (did I mention the humidity). No biggy. It will pass eventually :)
The last picture here is also from working outside yesterday... its earring cards that my friend Jan punches for me... Jan is a bookbinder and she has lots of scraps of different colored paper. I just wanted to say a very big THANK YOU to my friend Jan for the colorful earring cards!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hot enough to fry an egg


Hot enough to fry an egg
Originally uploaded by Pockafwye
Its so hot in Portland right now. It was over 90degrees last night at midnight!!! Its supposed to get up to 106 today. Wha?!

I was having some crazy dream as I was waking up this morning in this heat. In the dream I was frustrated because evidently I was going to Thailand but I couldn't find my tickets and I wasn't packed and I was leaving in the morning but I didn't know when and then I finally woke up as I was searching all email and regular mail thinking "maybe I didn't buy the tickets?" Then I woke up all sweaty and frustrated. Promptly took a cold shower and now I feel a bit better. This heat is getting to me.

I dunno about you, but in my dreams I am usually on vacation. Seriously, the dreams I remember are almost always set in hotels or boats or beaches or something of the sort. I like to think that in my alternate reality I am perpetually on vacation. Can't complain :)

Okay - so its hot. I am thinking about jumping in the car and driving out to the beach where its considerably cooler and staying there for the day.

What do you dream about?

PS. this picture is by Pockafwye on Flickr... I thought about doing the same thing myself this morning (cook an egg and then take a picture of it out on the sidewalk... but then I reconsidered (its too hot) and found this lovely shot :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Painted Hills Oregon Adventure

This week was adventure time for Tim and I. We took a drive out into Eastern Central Oregon to check out the infamous "Painted Hills". It was hot, it was awesome, I took lots of pictures as always.
Here we are with our amazing handcrafted walking sticks that Tim's dad made us (Thanks Doug!!)
These painted hills are a result of volcanic activity and erosion. There was a strong wind out in this area that I have no doubt has been part of the unique erosion that left this land so beautiful. Particular metal oxides in the layers of earth create the red, yellow, brown and black stripes.
The pigments in the earth here are the same that I have been experimenting with to make colored prints in my glass creations! I could actually look at the hills and say "that reddish stripe is from iron oxide!"
The volcanic activity in this area caused a hard natural glass to form as a top crust on this interesting layered land. After erosion the volcanic glass top layer remains - creating a really amazing landscape.
It was so hot out in the desert, all the campsites were empty and there were signs everywhere that said "No Fires!". So we continued driving and found an amazing campsite on the East side of Mt. Hood called "Clear Creek". Camping is just not as fun without a big campfire!

And in the morning we were visited by two cows that came to check out the creek by our campsite and the ran accross the water and grazed on some grass in a field. Wildlife!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mobile in the Dishwasher

I heard a funny story at the market this weekend...

A customer came up to me and told me she has had one of my little mini glass mobiles hanging above her stove for a few years now. She said when it gets dirty, splattered with grease and whatnot, she simply hangs it in the dishwasher and sends it thru a cycle - voila it is clean again. She said it works great! I asked if she just hangs it from the cup rack and she said - Yep!

I just love the image in my head of the mobile dancing around in the dishwasher while its running, water splish-splashing and whatnot.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Weekend at the Market

It was a bright sun shiney weekend here in Portland Oregon. As usual I was down at the Portland Saturday Market with my glass mobiles.
What can I say about this weekend... it was hot indeed... and wonderful to see many customers and friends... I caught too much sun from being out there all weekend... and some mobiles went home with their new owners. I like that :)
The market is a lively place to take pictures... there are always so many people!
I should take pictures of more of the food I eat down there. Regular amazing lunches (and sometimes breakfast) are an added perk of being a Portland Saturday Market vendor. Today I ate a papusa from Dona Lola (no picture - I'll do it next week)... yesturday I had fruit for breakfast as well as a papusa from DonLola for lunch :)
This is the yummy fruit salad I ate on Saturday. Melon, pineapple, mango, hiccama(sp?), coconut, and cucumber slices with fresh squeezed lime salt and cayenne on top. Oh my it was beautiful.
This dog's name is Buster
Ooh this last picture is the best! Lookin' good in her new LeahGlass earring mobiles :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Give-Away: FREE Beachy Earrings

So the question is color... I thought I'd bring my blog readers into my process of making these little beachy glass earrings.

Pictured above are some glass bits that I've etched to look like beach glass. Click on the picture to enlarge if you would like. They are little tiny earrings I was playing around with colors... some I think are better than others... the picture shows what they will look like on earwires as well as what a bunch of colors look like once etched.

Its give-away time again on my blog here - so I thought I'd throw out a fun question: Which color do you like the best and want to wear? I will be giving away one pair of earrings to one lucky winner (I'll draw a name out of a box at the end of the month). To enter simply post a comment with your preferred color(I've numbered them in the picture below, click on the image to make it bigger) and make sure I can email you in case you win. If you do win I will send you a pair in the color that you chose! What fun. Yeah for free gifts!!!
I'll be selling these soon in my Etsy shop and in my booth at the PSM. I want to come up with some sort of fun way to display them (a glass wave with little hooks they can hang from?! hm...)
to read more about these earrings click these links for previous posts of mine:

Etsy Get Together in Portland

Anda from Etsy headquarters in Brooklyn spent the day wandering Portland visiting artists studios and she joined us for an "Etsy Tea Time" out in Laurelhurst Park.

It was a hot day and I must say that hanging out in the park under the shade of a tree was a brilliant use of the afternoon. I had brought with me some silver earwires that I've been making, so I even got a bit of work done filing the ends of the wires.
Ladies it was wonderful to see you all - and I really soaked up my fill of Etsy chit chat yesturday! My goodness. Tea Time was wonderful to see smiling faces that I have missed for months, and then last night I went to the Doug Fir to check out Maria's talk about Etsy (Maria is the CEO of Etsy and she was in town to speak to the peeps)
I found the meet-up exhausting and inspiring. I love hearing Etsy people talk about Etsy because of the enthusiasm and vision that just pours out of their mouths. I love this positivity - but also I see both sides of the coin (I look for the balance in things, even if its off kilter).

Its a little frustrating because as I've been selling on this site for years I realize that change happens very slowly and my sales seem to be happening equally slowly. I needed a little extra push in the right direction, and I think this Brooklyn visit to Portland may have been the jump start that was necessary.

I must say too - Etsy picked up the tab at the bar for the entire group of Etsians at the meet-up last night. What a treat! (although I drink water) Made for some sassy sellers, which was wonderful to watch. Portland peeps don't let anything past them, especially the chance to attempt to break some ballz! And when they were unsuccessful, the drinks were free, so everyone was so happy :) That cracked me up. I had a fun evening. It was loud though, and it was hot, so even though I'd been drinking water all day I had a killer headache by half-way thru the meeting.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Portland Etsy Meet-up

Tonight at the Doug Fir here in P-town at 7pm Etsy is hosting a get together. Maria, Matt and Anda are all in town from Brooklyn to talk about Etsy and answer questions, a little Q+A action with a meet n' greet kinda affair. I will be there, will you?
Riding a Portland city bus around with Matt and Maria Thomas.... on Twitpic
Its fun having Etsy celeb's in town. The picture above is from Anda's tweets - they got into town yesturday and walked around, here they are taking a Tri-Met bus. Last night I joined them for dinner at The Farm and I got to meet the sellers behind TheBlackApple and AshleyG.

I love talking shop, and talking Etsy and networking with other crafty entrepreneurs, so this whole Etsy Get-together action is like being a kid in a candy store. I am looking forward to seeing my Etsy seller friends that I haven't seen in a while, and I am sure I will probably meet more tonight as well.

I woke up with thoughts today about my Etsy shop, how I should invest more time and energy into it. My shop desperately needs a jump start. Its nice to have this Etsy action in town to stimulate my interest... it seemed like a big question last night was "What can Etsy do for you." and that has got me really thinking... I am not sure really, but if I think of something I will let them know :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Orange Mobile in Process

Jan and I are collaborating on a mobile for a Contemporary Environment Design firm here in Portland... I am really liking how it is turning out so far!

Beer Bottle Glass Color

Earring creation continues

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Raspberry Jam

I had to share this wonderful picture from jam making today.

Berry Picking Heaven

Yesterday I went to Sauvie Island with my lovely lady friends (and their super cute little boys) and we picked berries. We picked and ate and chatted for hours. It was wonderful. Today we make jam.

I gotta put a shout out to any readers that are local and like picking fruit out on Sauvies: the cherries are amazing! And they are going to be done by the end of the week (do you hear an alarm sounding? I sorta do) one farm hand told us that peaches would already be ripe next week?!?! wow. Seems like the strawberry season lasted a month, but suddenly the raspberries and cherries have come in and out of season in a matter of a week! My goodness. You gotta be on top of this stuff, us city slickers just don't have a finger on the pulse of the farm ripening.
Picking cherries was fun as always. Even though we had headed out to Krugers specifically for raspberries, we made a stop at the GM farm (the road before Krugers) and found the cherries ripe for picking. I guess all this cloud cover and moisture has them ideal and ready to burst. There was a man working on the trees (they cut the branches each year so the tree will grow more and fruit even more the following year) and he first made us taste every type of cherry (I hadn't realized last year that every tree is a different type of cherry) and the Vans cherries won out. He cut down branches for us from the Vans tree and we picked all the ripe berries off the fallen branches. In the past I've climbed the ladders and picked that way... so this experience was quite unique! The farmer said "I'd rather see the branches falling off the trees than the people falling off the ladders!". I can appreciate that.

Then we continued down the road to Krugers. Awesome picking as always! Supposedly the raspberries were "picked over" from a busy weekend, but we cleared house, easily picking almost 2 flats of berries by diving into the plants and finding many many ripe lucious berries for the taking.

4 year old Micah kept saying "they are so beautiful!" and we were calling them jewels. They really did look like jewels.
Ripe yummy gems, like earrings dangling on the plants - and they seem to say to me "Pick me! Pick me! I am soo yummy!"

Okay, so I gotta add a link to Farmer Don's blog:
http://farmerdonkruger.blogspot.com/2009/07/really-farming.html

I was just reading last night about the land use decision by the county, evidently the locals have put an end to any weddings out under the big oak tree. Evidently the wedding party buying hundreds of dollars of flowers and food for the event was not recognized as a the farm selling their agricultural product. @*&@^*# Farmer Don's events out on Krugers farm is an integral way to how he sustains a farm with organic no-spray methods, only him and 4 farm hands (I find that amazing, 80 acres and 4 guys! and thousands of u-pickers!) and continues to grow rather than go bankrupt.

Heres the deal, Sauvie Island is agriculturally zoned land. All operations on Krugers farm must be oriented around the production and sale of what he grows on his land. There's an article that Farmer Don links to on his blog where you can read more.

I think this is outrageous. Let me get up on my soapbox for a moment to say that the locals out on the Island think the pumpkin patch festivities in October are great (the ones put on by the local farmers), but Farmer Don (the California man that they hoped would leave after he went broke) is on their sh*t list. He managed to come in and save a beautiful farm from acquisition and abuse by major agricultural corporations - he made the gorgeous land publicly available for MY enjoyment. Evidently the locals are sick of this man and they see no positivity in the success he has found in letting the city people come out and enjoy the bounty of Sauvie Island. They think he makes noise and blocks traffic on the bridge. They have decided he can have concerts, but no weddings... pumpkin patch and corn maize, but no kid birthday parties with hayrides. WTF. And Farmer Don's only choice now is to roll over and obey, or appeal the county decision. In other words: throw a bunch more money at lawyers and the county in order to try and persuade them to let people take their vows under his beautiful oak tree and celebrate their love by feeding their family with organic fruits and veggies with flowers on the tables that were picked on that very farm. Everyone wants a piece of the pie, that's what I see. I am appalled. Now I will get down off my soapbox.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chicken Sparkler

These hens are my favorite firework - I made this little video last weekend. It was the 4th of July and after vending all day at the PSM, I convinced Tim to take a bike ride with me to the store for fireworks (he protested the silliness, I convinced him with the opportunity to take a bike ride). I bought up some of these hens and a funny panda thing that also shot sparks out of its ass. I love it. The big loud ones don't do much for me, but these little guys have got to be one of the best use of gunpowder that I know of! Who doesn't love a chicken that shoots colorful sparks out its ass!
video

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fridays

I usually spend Fridays getting ready for a weekend vending at the Portland Saturday Market. Today is no exception.

Are you curious what that entails? Well, for me at least its a matter of inventory mostly. Other bits on the to-do list every Friday are making sure I have change $$ for the weekend, checking the weather to see what I am going to be dealing with, do the laundry so I have clean clothes to wear :)

Artwork inventory is a whole nuther matter though. I am constantly keeping up with inventory - every weekend many of my pieces find new homes, so each week I have to restock! I try to make things in batches, say 10 or 20 at a time (I know I am low-scale in terms of quantity, but hey - its all handmade! I figure there should be a little uniqueness to everything, and if I do thinks in too much quantity that uniqueness sorta dissolves).

I work with the glass earlier in the week so that by Friday it will be cool and out of the kiln, ready for me to assemble into mobiles. If I need something for the weekend, I have to have made the glass pieces early in the week.

Today I am putting together more mini mobiles in rainbow colors (pictured above are little orange pieces that I arrange with blue triangles and red yellow and purple dots to make little mini mobiles) and long mobiles I call Chakra circles... a few other mobiles will inevitably get put together as the evening progresses.

And today I've been getting a lot of work done on my new-old picnic table! Its so nice to be able to work outside. Tim has completely spiffed it up and built me benches (so far there are 3 beautiful white benches!!). If you want to see pictures of him working on the table/benches check out my flickr

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Beachy Glass Colors

I'm making earrings... beach glass colors...
first I cut pieces into small strips
then I cut the small strips into bits
then I paired up the bits and arranged them to make it easier to glue a small piece of wire inside each pair
after firing in the kiln the glue will burn away and the piles of square bits will all be cute and round

next... bending all the little wires and making these beachy beads of glass into earrings...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sun Shade Fabric

My new picnic table has already come in handy! I bought some sun shade fabric for my booth at the Portland Saturday Market. It is really hot and sunny lately - I replaced the top of my booth with this sun-shade fabric that lets in air and light, but cuts down on the heat.
So far all I have done is take 2 pieces of the fabric (it comes on a huge long roll of 50ft x 6ft) and sew them together to make one bit 12ft square (I used staples as pins to hold it in place as I sew, they worked smashingly, in fact I never even bothered to take them out). I used my new picnic table to hold the sewing machine - I've never worked with such big pieces of fabric before, the picnic table was perfect!Then this morning I simply used clamps to hold it in place over my booth. Sorta ghetto fabulous - but it worked. Next week I will take it home again and sew the corners so it fits a bit better, possibly put a little love into the edges, that wouldn't hurt. Either way, it works, and it looks great. I think it helped too. It was a beautiful day (see picture below) but it was hot hot hot in Portland terms (I heard it was 98degrees this afternoon) and my booth is in the full sun.
The wonderful gals of the tie-die booth on the left side of this picture were the ones with the brilliant idea of using shade fabric. When I saw Rhea I had to ask her what she used for her canopy because she was able to cool down her booth considerably. My booth was still hot today, but it was pleasant, at least more so that with a regular top.

Oh and today at the market there was a music stage set up! Just last weekend I mentioned in my blog that I couldn't wait for there to be a music stage again. Ask and you shall receive - eh?! :) This is the view from my booth - front row seats.

video