Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy and Peaceful Holidays to You!


In so many ways, and to so many people it has been a long and 'interesting' year. Personally it was a difficult one for me and I'm not lying when I say I will be glad when it is over. Before this year ends however, I would like to wish all my friends and family a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. I'm hoping that this New Year brings only peace, good health, prosperity and good cheer to those I hold dear.

XO

PS -I had my six-month follow-up today, Dec 23rd. CT and blood-work show all is clear. It will be a most Merry Christmas, and gives me great hope for the New Year.

Love,
Lynn

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Facets

I've been wanting to do some faceted polymer pieces for a long time. I had an idea in my head of how I wanted them to look... like natural crystals, with uneven, organic facets.

I finally broke down and bought a disk/belt sander so I could make them just like I envisioned. These range in size from 1/4 inch to just under 1 inch. I still need to drill them (crossing fingers). I'm imagining them clustered in groups, perhaps in a color gradation.

I had to buff them lightly to clean the dust. That softened the facet edges a little. I like them that way, but also liked them harder edged. I've ordered some finer grit paper for my disc sander. I'm hoping that will give a finer finish and I can keep the facets sharper.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Tool Alert -Drill Press


A new addition to the work station. The drill press was sitting unused in my Mother-in-law's garage for the last 10 years. She had mentioned several times that she wanted someone to take the tools and put them to good use. Starting to fear she'd give them away, throw them away or yard-sale them...we finally took her up it.

It just needed a little dusting off, some oil on the steel, and some bolts to fix it to the bench top. It works beautifully on the acrylic that I've been playing with and opens so many more doors to creativity..... what can I make next?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sneak Peek - Completed Rings

I finished my newest product line, but ran out of good light to photograph, so listing will have to wait a day. :^)

Fun, bright, engraved acrylic rings in the same style as my bracelets. I also made a few key-rings and am working on some rings made of bent bands, like my bracelets.

I've really been enjoying working with the acrylic and it has me brainstorming another line combining the acrylic with my polymer clay work.... but that may have to wait until after the holidays. I've only got so much time and energy. :^)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving


Beer Bottle Cap House, originally uploaded by Lynn_EL/UnaOdd.

I have so much to be thankful for this year... too much to actually list so I'll keep it simple.

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sweet Little Music Break

I almost always have music playing while I work. Sometimes I stream Pandora, sometimes I make a YouTube playlist, sometimes CDs. Here's a favorite from my Youtube Playlist. A super sweet song by Grizzly Bear.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sweet Little Color Break


originally uploaded by Lynn_EL/UnaOdd.

I just felt the need to enjoy color today. Fall is almost over and we're headed into the starker, spare colors of winter. I felt the need for a last huzzah! of color so I treated myself to a bouquet of sunflowers. I always have found the spiral pattern of the seed head to be so fascinating, but these flowers also sport such gorgeous colors.... almost a rainbow!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kaida Fetching

Gray rainy day playing fetch with my cat. Really.

Kaida loves to chase and bring back small, fuzzy, sparkly balls we call sparkle balls. She brings them to me while I work in my studio and drops them at my feet. Her favorite is going up and over the couch. Typically she retrieves 10-12 times before she gets tired of the game or Kanye steals the sparkle ball.

Forgive the poor quality, it's a first for me! video

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beauty in Decay


As much as I love nature in full bloom, there is undeniable beauty to be found at all stages of life.

These particular ferns are a favorite of mine. They are Onoclea sensibilis, sensitive fern. So named because they react quickly to dry conditions. I started my fern bed with one tiny frond, spotted in the lawn while mowing and carefully transplanted.

Stopping by the fern bed one chilly morning I first mourned the loss of the cool bright green I so enjoyed. The earliest tiny fronds, so full of promise, are a favorite source of leaf impressions for my pendants.

Growing larger they enchant with their lovely shape and fresh color.

Today I was noticing the withering, drying fronds and feeling a little sad.

Looking closer I started to notice the individual cells... changing color... a beautiful pattern started to emerge.

I walked away from the bed feeling re-energized and hopeful for what had been and what is still to come.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pendants in Process

I've experimented with this before, but I don't know why I never did more with it. I initially made some pendants by impressing leaves and designs into clay. These were meant to painted and resin-coated. I never finished them and have a ton of them piling up.

Yesterday I absently grabbed a blob of clay and pushed it into the impression in the original pendant. I really like how the image is now raised and did a bunch of them.

Trial and error -polymer likes to stick to itself...even if one is cured. I found freezing the pendants helped maintain the shape while removing. I've also mixed a home-made mold release that I'm going to give a try. I mixed a small amount of mineral spirits and petroleum jelly to the consistency of cream. I am going to brush on and let dry. We'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Newest Wood Head

I mentioned in an earlier post that I have a thing for carved wooden heads. Here's the newest addition to my collection. He stands approximately 6 3/4 inches high, is flat bottomed and unmarked. He is painted black. The weight makes me think he could be oak.

I was drawn to him as he looks Nordic (to me) and reminds me of my travels in Denmark. It was in Denmark at a flea market (kremmermarked) that I spotted (and unfortunately passed up) the first carved wooden heads. So began my obsession.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

UnaOdd Giveaway on Fabulous Fun Finds



There's still time to enter the UnaOdd necklace giveaway on the truly fabulous Fabulous Fun Finds blog!

Enter the giveaway and win a Tangerine on Charcoal Rustic Nature Filipendula Necklace in your choice of cord length.

Enter here: UnaOdd Necklace Giveaway.

While you're there check out the other fabulous giveaways as well as a very caring Silent Auction to benefit a young mother of three who tragically lost her husband, father and brother-in-law. Click on the link above,read the rules, then go to the homepage and bid for a good cause!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Celosia 'Orange Temple Bells' -for drying

I collected these Celosia cristata 'Orange Temple Bells' just before several rainy days. They are now hanging upside-down in the basement rafters drying. I wish I could keep the color as bright.


Once dried they turn a lovely antique red/pink shade, with a very slender stem and wonderful shape.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just a Sweet Little Photo Break

While walking out in the garden today I noticed that the goldenrod is just starting to bloom. I needed to cut some of the celosias for drying and was inspired to fill a mason jar with a bright and gorgeously untidy bouquet. Kanye came to inspect and seemed to approve.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Pendants in Process


New Pendants in Process, originally uploaded by Lynn_EL/UnaOdd.

I have been having fun! fun! fun! I'm so in love with color right now. Funny, how starting to work with molds, and working with less resin, is opening me up to having more fun.

Heirloom Tomatoes


Hillbilly Heirloom Tomato, originally uploaded by Lynn_EL/UnaOdd.

I love growing (and eating!) tomatoes. My favorite way is sliced, still warm from the sun. Toast your bread, a little mayo, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of chipotle. Tonight we're having a salad of sliced tomatoes, basil from the garden, local goat cheese, salt, pepper, and a dash of balsamic vinegar.

My favorite varieties are all heirlooms. Over the years I've grown Brandywine, Black Krim, Garden Peach, White Wonder, Great White, Oxheart, Striped Roman, Green Zebra, Eva's Purple Ball, Giant Belgium, Sausage, Hillbilly, Omar's Lebanese, Mortgage Lifter, Flame, Persimmon, Costoluto Genovese, Jaune Flammee, Anna Russian, Burgundy Plum, Mr. Stripey, Cuor di Bue, and Yellow Pear.

Some were wonderful...Brandywine, Black Krim.

Some were quirky and fun...Green Zebra (green when ripe, with lovely bronzey stripes) -also tasty, Garden Peach -actually fuzzy, looks like an apricot!

Some were disappointments...white and yellow tomatoes -just bland!.

Every year my stand out favorite has been Hillbilly. It's a large, indeterminate, beefsteak variety. Every year I am knocked over by the beautiful patterning of the fruit and am rewarded with the delicious large slices.

It hasn't been a good garden year for tomatoes. We had a long, cool, soaking-wet spring. The hot weather plants are now just starting to jump and produce, so I was quite excited to find Hillbilly starting to ripen. I think this will be the tomato in our salad tonight! .........and maybe my lunch sandwich as well. :^)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Silicone Molds


Molds, originally uploaded by Lynn_EL/UnaOdd.

I decided that going the "Completely One-Of-A-Kind" route, and doing all my pendants with resin pours, was doing me in with the labor-intensive steps.

I've decided to add a line of simpler, rustic pendants using molds of my own design. I purchased a product called Knead-a-Mold, from Townsend Atelier. It creates a silicone rubber mold that sets in less than 10 minutes. The final mold can be used in the oven (for polymer) and is food safe as well. I've done my first batch using polymer clay in the molds. I also tried resin, but my first experiment with resin confirms I need a mold release agent....oops!

I've had some interesting new process mistakes, and wasted a bit more material than I would have liked -both resin and the mold material, but I'm excited about the possibilities!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just a Sweet Little Photo Break


Toad in a Hole, originally uploaded by Lynn_EL/UnaOdd.


The children found this happy little fellow in a gravelly hollow at the base of an old tree. He posed quite nicely.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Slow Going


It's been a difficult Spring and Summer. I'm used to working hard and getting things done. Lately my left foot has been having some swelling problems that I'm sure are related to my surgery. My doctors have been sending me for tests so we'll see where that ends up.

I've been making some new pieces (and having some difficulty with new techniques...), and have been having a hard time getting them listed.

School starts in a few weeks for the kids -I look forward to extra time to get things done, but feel a little sad as well.

Have you ever just felt like everything was difficult? Results come slowly, troubles come quickly?

I don't want to turn into a complainer, and I'm struggling against that.

The little snail was found crawling on my shoe.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wooden Head


, originally uploaded by Lynn_EL/UnaOdd.

I've felt drawn to carved wooden heads for some time now. I've kicked myself several times for not buying the three carved heads I saw in a Danish flea market a few years ago. The ones I passed up only improve in perfectness and affordability in my mind, as time passes. :^)

When I spotted this head online a few weeks ago I bought it on impulse and I LOVE IT!

I think I'm starting my official wooden head collection now.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ovarian Cancer -Etsy Project Embrace and Overcome Ovarian Cancer 5K Walk 2009


Followers of my blog may already know that I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in April of this year. I underwent surgery in May, had a complete hysterectomy, appendectomy and numerous biopsies. I was very lucky to be diagnosed at stage 1A. Throughout the diagnosis and surgery I strove to maintain a positive outlook and I know that I am very, very lucky to have been diagnosed so early.

Recently I have become aware of two very worthy fundraisers in the battle against ovarian cancer. I am an artist selling on Etsy and was recently approached by fellow Etsian, and friend, Amy of ThePeachTree. Amy asked if I was interested in participating in an Etsy community-wide project in aims of raising money for cancer research and to promote awareness in support of (and honoring) Laura -a wonderfully creative and vibrant artist. Laura has recently been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. You can read more about her on her profile page. I don't know Laura, but feel a kinship and wish her only the best.

Called 'etsyprojectembrace', participating sellers are donating a portion of their sales to the Etsy Project Embrace Team benefitting the American Cancer Society. Click on the Team link to donate directly to the team. To shop participating Etsy stores, enter 'projectetsyembrace' in the Etsy search bar. Don't forget to shop participating vintage sellers as well!

Another fundraiser is being done by my good friend, and talented artist -Trace Hanson. Trace is participating in a fundraising 5K walk in September to benefit the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance. If you would like to support her efforts, please visit her personal fundraising page. Trace is walking in honor of her mother Barbara, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer on September 1st 2001.

If you are in Georgia please consider participating in the Overcoming Ovarian Cancer 5K Walk.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fun Bugs



I love making these little bug stickers. I use a roll of gummed kraft packing tape, some sharpies and a little acrylic paint. I punch out shapes and decorate them with fun little bugs and flowers. I use some of the scrap pieces to make co-ordinating decorative pieces. I plan on doing more for my shop... maybe do some on moleskine books.

This is good work for me to do right now... I can just sit and draw, while I take it easy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What a Week


So I've been out of commission for a week. Really out of commission. Last Tuesday, May 26th, I woke up not feeling too well. I had stomach and abdominal pains. As the morning progressed I began to feel severely chilled and light-headed. I put my son on the bus for school and called my husband to come home. I ended up in the ER, then was transferred and admitted to my original surgical hospital with a post-surgical abdominal infection.

The last week has been spent in the hospital -fighting the infection, having lots of blood drawn, pushing my I.V. stand around the halls and trying to eat the hospital food. The staff was wonderful, and really helped to make it bearable.

I finally came home yesterday. I am tired and hooked up to funky drainage stuff -ick!, but oh so glad to be home again!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Beginnings


I feel like I've been given a new one...a new beginning.
We meet with my doctor on Wednesday to go over the final pathology results in more detail, and discuss any further care, but we were given the results over the phone and it sounds like good news. It was in fact ovarian cancer, but it was limited to the right ovary. Twenty-one lymph node biopsies have come back negative, as did biopsies on everything else they removed...which was pretty much everything else.

Looking forward to moving ahead again. There is still so much I want to do!

The little mantid is from my garden today -perched on my fingernail.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Comfortable Companionship


This is the couch where I am spending most of my day -recuperating, reading, napping, posting, and thinking. I lean against the pillow at the end. I am kept company by Kanye, who spends most of the day in this position. I love to reach up and pet him. He lets me rub his belly and doesn't even open an eye.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Taking it Slowly

I'm in recovery and am having a really hard time taking it slowly. I'm not supposed to lift anything over 10 pounds, .45 kilos, for 6-8 weeks. It is hard to bend and my back is trying to compensate for the stomach muscles that I can't use, so it's starting to ache. I can accept help with the laundry, cooking, and dishes...;^). The garden is a bigger task and makes me a little sad. Bindweed is taking over my perennial bed, thistle and silver maples are sprouting up. I have to keep reminding myself -there's next year!

I really miss Etsy and will probably open shop again soon. I've been brainstorming some new pieces, ones that don't require as much tedious physical work. Maybe tomorrow I'll start playing with my ideas.

About all I can do right now is read. I did manage to get into the garden to shoot a few photos, but even that is tiring. It's hard to bend down to get the close shots I like.

Guess this is just going to be a venting post... I'm allowed to have some of those right?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Life is What Happens....


Primula veris, originally uploaded by Lynn_EL/UnaOdd.

...while you're making plans. Right? Isn't that how the quote goes?

Well, we had a lot of plans for this year, this summer.

A family vacation to D.C., Maryland, and Baltimore.

A huge vegetable garden, especially for my son who missed out on Mom gardening because of all the upheaval in our lives the last two years. I want my kids to remember me as a gardener, so they might get bit by the gardening bug one day. :^)

Fixing up the house.

Doing fun day trips together as a family.

Rejuvenating the neglected and overgrown perennial beds......

.....Then I woke up with a pain in my side. An ultrasound showed a large cyst. Follow-up tests suggest possible ovarian cancer, but I'm feeling unexpectedly upbeat right now, and the doctors are cautiously optimistic. When it comes out and they give me a definitive outcome, then I'll be upset if I have to be. My husband on the other hand is overloaded and worried...but he is being so strong!

Surgery is scheduled for sometime on Thursday, May 7th. I may be out of touch and commission for some time...or I may be bed-bound with just a laptop to keep me occupied and I'll post like a maniac. :^)

Either way...if you read this, please keep me in your thoughts on Thursday.

Monday, May 4, 2009

'Hillbilly' in a Recycled Newspaper Pot

So far the recycled newspaper pots are holding up really well. This seedling is the same one shown in my initial post detailing my experiment, and is an heirloom variety known as 'Hillbilly'. Growth is equal to the plastic pot seedlings, the only difference being the necessity to water a little more often -the newspaper wicks water from the soil. Oh, and cute whiskery little roots are starting to work their way through the paper.

One point of potential concern, the pots become a little moldy which may be an issue for someone with allergies to mold.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thank you Amy from The Peach Tree


Flowers from my garden...as a small Thank You!

When I first started on Etsy I was so impressed by the quality of artwork, quality of promotion, and the high levels of dedication of so many of the people there.

As I became more and more familiar with the site certain artists began to stand out. One of the first people to make a very strong impression on me with her consistent level of artwork and dedication to creating stunning collections in the Treasury was Amy from ThePeachTree. Her skills in quality presentation and promotion make her an admired web entrepreneur.

Amy's distinctive photographic style is easily recognizable. I love her artistic use of focus, lighting and framing.





In addition to Amy's awesome shop she keeps an inspiring and impressive blog, The Peach Tree.

I always enjoy Amy's great taste in her selections of intriguing pieces for her Peach Picks series, full of wonderfully explored subjects and themes. Her *FEATURED ARTIST of the week* series has been a lovely introduction to many inspirational artists. This one is a charming interview with Etsy artist Winklepots. Also enjoyable are glimpses into daily adventures...like row-boating in Central Park, complete with personal snapshots, like this great photo of sunning turtles.



Thank you Amy. I wish you much continued success!

Usefulness


My Mother's parents lived through the Depression. They were hardworking, rural, Pennsylvania folks. I remember vividly, growing up and watching them save everything -repair, re-use and re-purpose until it falls apart. Tools, dishes, fabrics, wood....all acquired a smoothness, a patina, well-worn patching, chips. All spoke of value in the intrinsic usefulness of an item. Looking back, what might have seemed poor and shabby to some speaks to me of honesty and thrift.

When I have to throw away some bit of modern junk that unfortunately cannot be repaired I feel a sadness and a loss of connection.

That is why I treasure a small collection of clothespins that I found at a yard sale. Some are apparently handmade...squared and chamfered, worn smooth by many years of hard-working hands. My favorite however is a simple little pin with evidence of thrift and value. Evidently splitting after many years of use, a single small nail has been hammered through to hold the split. The free end of the nail has been carefully bent over and pushed into the wood to keep it from catching fingers or cloth.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thank you Anabela from BelaDonna!


Anabela from the three sweet Etsy shops BelaDonna, BelaDonnaJewels, and BelaDonnaBeads recently asked me if I would do an artist's interview for her lovely blog, BelaDonna.

Her blog is fun and well written. It combines personal stories and crafting tales with everything from a recipe for Thai Noodles (sounds delicious!), to a demonstration on how she makes her charming Kokeshi Dolls, to regular features like Featured Artist Interviews (this one is Shellie from the wonderful Etsy shop, PillowHappy). Thank you Anabela for the invitation. I am very pleased to be a part of your lovely blog.

Beautiful earrings from BelaDonnaJewels:

Supplies to make your own beauties from BelaDonnaBeads:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Repotted!


The first batch of seedlings has been re-potted. I made both plastic cup pots, and recycled newspaper pots. I am also watering the seedlings with a dilute fish emulsion fertilizer. They are a lovely deep green and have beautifully stocky stems.

The tomatoes can be potted up buried all the way to the cotyledons, or "seed leaves". New roots can grow from any point on the stem and this will create a deeper, stronger root system.


Making Seedling Pots

The seeds have been doing well under the lights and are in need of transplanting. I make my own re-usable plant pots by drilling drainage holes in 5 oz. plastic cups. In the interest of recycling I decided to try an experiment. In addition to the plastic pots I am gong to make some pots out of recycled newspaper. I want to see how well the newspaper pots hold up, and how well the plants thrive compared to my plastic cup method.

First the plastic cups. I use 5 oz. plastic cups and simply drill holes in the bottom with a Dremel.



For the newspaper pots I purchased a wooden pot making tool. You simply cut newspaper into 3.5" x 10" strips which you wrap around the barrel portion of the tool. I chose to do a double thickness of paper. The bottom of the wrapped paper is folded over and you push it onto the round wheel-shaped form. I gave it a twist and added one staple, just to give it a little extra sturdiness.



The pots felt reasonably sturdy. I appreciated the addition of the staple and the doubling of the paper. I like my pots sturdy. :^)

Friday, April 10, 2009

First True Leaves


The first true leaves have appeared on most of my first batch of seedlings. This means that they are soon ready for re-potting. I am going to try an experiment this year. Every year I use plant pots that I make out of 5 oz. plastic cups. I like them as they are a great size, they fit nicely in the flats, I can write information on them if needed -using a Sharpie, they hold up well, and I can re-use them from year-to-year.

In the interest of recycling and being more eco-friendly I have purchased a plant pot maker that uses strips of newspaper to make biodegradable pots. In the near future I will post a demo on making both kinds of pots. I want to compare how well they stand up and how well the plants thrive. I am not including peat pots as I don't like them. I find they draw too much moisture out of the soil if not kept constantly moist. If peat pots are not removed at planting, and the top edge is above ground, they can wick moisture away from the roots. Others may have good results with peat... I find them too expensive for the uneven results.