Friday, February 27, 2009

Proud to be From PA -Handmade in PA Blog Carnival!

Credit to Melanie from and for the wonderful illustration!

When I was growing up, I truthfully wasn't proud to be from Pennsylvania.

As a very young child of course I was oblivious. Our family enjoyed playing in the snow in winter, fishing in the Monocasy creek, eating my Nana's pies -black raspberry -picked from the local cornfield hedgerow, strawberry rhubarb, apple, and shoo-fly. I would lay in the tall meadow grass in the summer and catch grasshoppers, or hunt for arrowheads in the local cornfields. In the fall we would pile the leaves deep and jump in them. Our family would go for hikes in the mountains. We visited local caves and bought tacky souvenirs. I remember my Grandmother sewing and baking and saving everything -if it could still possibly have a use. My Grandfather was always fixing things in his wonderful basement workshop. It was a time for just being and growing and absorbing -not reflecting.

As a teen, I was sure that anywhere else would be more exciting, more glamorous, more alive. The town I grew up in seemed tired and boring. I dreamed of growing up and moving away.

As an adult I've done some moving. I've visited other places and lived in other countries. While I've enjoyed the places I've been, I've found that there is good and not so good no matter where you go.

Back to the memories of childhood...I have my own children now, and yes, I live in Pennsylvania. I raise my children here, and try to give them the same things in life that I had. They play in our yard catching lightning bugs and caterpillars. We go hiking in the mountains and I've taken them to the same cave, with the same garish lights and the same tacky souvenirs:^) Sometimes I bake a pie from my Grandmother's recipes. We wade in the local creek catching crayfish and newts and tadpoles....then let them all go. On nice days I hang my laundry out, like my Mom does and like my Grandmother did. Most importantly to me I enjoy doing, with my hands, as my Grandparents did.

To me, being PA proud means being proud of the people and places that I came from. I pay my respect to the honest, hardworking and loving family that came before me, by living the best that I can, doing the best that I can, and by raising my children here, the way I was raised.

To celebrate Proud to be From PA, I am offering free shipping, domestic and international, through March 2nd in my Etsy shop, UnaOdd. Simply enter the code 'Handmade in PA' in the "notes to seller" box at checkout. Your shipping costs will be refunded through PayPal.

Please check out these other Handmade in PA blogs. On each of these blogs, you can find out other great reasons to be PA Proud. You can also find out how to get a great deal in each of their shops - now through Monday, March 2nd!

Tara from typOH - Enjoy FREE Shipping!
Kristen from WatersGirls - Enjoy 30% off your purchase!
Melissa from SqrlBee - Enjoy FREE Shipping!
Koco from MissKoco - Get a FREE lavender sachet with your purchase!
Rosie from RosiesWhimsy - Enjoy FREE Shipping!
Kerry from ALittleSparkle - Enjoy FREE Shipping!
Marissa from MarissaJoannaRojas, MJRojasPhoto, and YayforFidgetArt - Enjoy FREE Shipping!
Dana from WiredDesign - Get a single FREE "Never Enough" Sterling Silver stacking ring with your purchase!
Kimberly from ChezSucreChez- Enjoy 10% off all items in her shop!
Sarah from SweetSallysSoaps - Get 3 bars of handcrafted soap for $15!
Melanie from SpreadtheLove - Enjoy FREE Shipping!
Erin from Ruju - Enjoy FREE Shipping!
Hillary from Antebelle - Enjoy FREE Shipping!
Patty from ArtfulMommy - Enjoy FREE Shipping!
Emily from disCARDS - Enjoy FREE Shipping on orders over $5!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thank you Sweet Devi!

Devi, I've been thinking about this. I really have! :^) First I have to say that I was so wonderfully surprised to be tagged... then I realized that I had to say something!!! :^O

No really, I have felt so lucky to have gotten to meet so many wonderful people through Etsy. I remember when I first 'found' Etsy. It was a distant, magical place. I started buying some of the wonderful work, admired the artists, and hoped to sell some of my own pieces there 'One Day'. Then finally I just went ahead and put my first pieces up...and held my breath.

Looking back on just over a year of selling, yes, it's been exciting to sell my work there, but even better has been getting to know other artists. Devi is one of the first people that I both admired and feel lucky enough to have gotten to know a little bit.

Devi...if you ever make another white flower choker, let me know because I want one!

Devi kindly tagged me so here's the nuts and bolts....

Here are the rules of this tag:

* link to the person who tagged you,
* post the rules on your blog,
* write six random things about yourself,
* tag six people at the end of your post and
link to them,
* let each person know they've been tagged.

So here's the six randoms...

1. I have a husband and two children who are everything to me. I never thought I would marry...never thought I would have children. Actually, in my maudlin youth I decided I would just die young and be done with it. Silly girl. So I finally did meet a man I could admire, love and be friends with. Yeah, I married him and then.......children....."Well, are you sure?" No, but when will we be?......They are now my ALL.

2. I started going gray in college. At the time it was 'intriguing', but as I got older I fought it. I just recently stopped fighting (at 41) and have let the gray be as it wishes -and there's a lot of it! I wish I could say I was happy with the decision. Sometimes I am, and I feel very confident in my place in life, but sometimes I feel like a 20 year old and then I look in the mirror.

3. I love my kittens, but I wish they wouldn't claw my furniture, but I won't de-claw them. I like my couch...A vicious circle.

4. I lived in Denmark, with my husband and children, for 5 months. It was supposed to be a 2 year relocation, and it was my dream. Unfortunately, dreams sometimes don't work out the way you think they will. The things I thought would be a problem were easy, and the things I never expected to be a problem were what brought me back home.:^( I met some wonderful people while I was there (Thank you Heather the Brit, more than you will ever know!!!) If I could do it over again I would, and I would say "Damn the Driver's Test!"

5. I like red wine. A lot.

6. I am actually very shy, and a bit of a loner. Connecting with other artists has forced me to come out of my shell a bit - a good thing! If I was left to my own I would read, and draw, and garden, and read, and paint.....and sleep. Thank you Devi!

And for the tagging. Some artists I admire, and would love to know a little more about, I'm new to blogging, so here's three admired artists:

Tanner Glass

Friday, February 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

No, not today! :^) My birthday was on February 15th and I celebrated by treating myself to a few lovely pieces. I think I get more excitement out of buying wonderful pieces by such talented artists, than I get out of selling my own work!

I collect fossils, especially of sea urchins. This is a lovely little urchin fossil that I found embedded in a flint nodule while living in Denmark. I found a number of fossilized sea urchins, many on the pebbly beaches of Tisvildeleje, on Denmark’s North Zealand Coast.

I've been quite a fan of knitalatte:: RESURRECTION FERN ever since I first saw Margie's work. I was so taken by the haunting honest beauty of the patterns she creates...and wrapped around so perfect of an object as a simple stone. They are so evocative of the fossils and sea creatures that I love so much. I eagerly awaited her next shop update and was able to acquire one of her gorgeous works.

Not an hour later I was using Etsy's wonderful Pounce Tool to search for undiscovered artists for a Treasury Challenge I was taking part in (I am now addicted to this tool!). Suddenly another piece that spoke to my obsession popped into view. A dish that visually echoed my earlier purchase had been crafted by Dana of EarthborneArt. Of course I had to buy it. I was so glad to know that I would be her first sale. I remembered the excitement of my first sale and hoped she was feeling some of that same joy.

I am so happy with my new pieces. The artistry and craftsmanship are superb! So, Happy Birthday to me...and so much credit to the very talented Margie and Dana!

Just Because Her Eyes are so Beautiful.....

That is why I am posting this picture of Kaida.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cathartic Change of Pace

As much as I love the final product of the work I do (my polymer and resin pendants) I often resent and am dragged down by the process. It is a very laborious and somewhat exacting process. In addition many of the steps require waiting days before I can do further work with the results. From start to finish a pendant can take 7-12 days.

So I've been taking a little break from my polymer work to just do some free-flow things. Number one has been making some purchases on Etsy...the most fun kind of free-flow.:^) I'll blog about some of my purchases later! The other has been doing some fun marker artwork...always relaxing for me.

Last summer I bought some books at a local carnival/festival. It benefits a local hospital and every year they have a book tent. The last day of the event all books are $1 a bag. You can get a lot in a bag so I ended picking up CRAZY books that I never would have looked at twice. One such book was a 1957 20th Century Bookkeeping and Accounting textbook. Just the other day I thought about using the pages to draw on and make bookmarks. While working on them I had a flashback...

I was accepted to college for graphic design. My Father took me to visit the school for orientation. Before we arrived at the school we stopped for lunch and he asked me if I didn't want to think about going to school for something else, like accounting. Not to knock accountants, but I had no interest and was disappointed that he would ask me that.

So although I sometimes find the technique of printing/painting on book pages to be a sometimes overused one, I found it quite cathartic and relaxing to cover accounting pages with colorful, fun, free-form organic growths.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Willow Water

Whenever times get tough, or I feel down and unproductive I think of willow branches.

Willows have a natural rooting hormone in them...something gardeners have known about and utilized for centuries. They would place cut up willow branches in pots of water and use the resulting 'Willow Water' to water their cuttings. The hormone, Indolebutyric Acid, that the willows gave off into the water encouraged the cuttings to develop their own roots.

The trick is to remember to use your personal 'Willow Water'. Whatever it is that recharges you, gets you going and growing. It's so easy to get caught up in the dreariness and just spin and wonder what's wrong.

Some of my favorite 'Willow Waters'....

Taking pictures of my children, cats and gardens.

Playing with my children.

In the winter...a trip to a greenhouse.

Working in the garden.

Getting down close to the earth and finding little creatures.

A walk in the woods or on the beach...with an empty mind.

Trying an entirely new art form/media.

These are just a few of the things that work for me. What works for you?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Brunch recipe -Egg in a Frame

I love bread, I love butter, I love toast and eggs. One of my favorite ways to combine my favorites is in a breakfast/brunch from my childhood -Egg in a Frame.

You start with fresh eggs and a good whole wheat bread -really grainy, nutty ones are great! Cut a square out of the center of each slice of bread. Reserve the squares. Butter the edges (frame) of the bread.

Place the bread frames butter-side down in a hot frying pan. Butter the top edges and add a dollop of butter to the pan in the center of the frame. Once the butter in the center has melted, crack one egg into the frame opening of the bread. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Flip when browned to your taste. Cook on the second side to taste and flip a few times until the yolk is done to the hardness you prefer. If you like your yolk runny then take the reserved squares and toast. They are perfect for dipping in the yolk! Otherwise toast the squares and butter and top with your choice of spreads.

Apologies for the lack of pretty posed brunch picture, with juice, spreads, jellies, flowers, napkins etc.... but we were so hungry!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bring a Little Spring In

I am one of those people who does not tolerate the dark and gloomy days of winter very well. My mood, mind, and body all become cold and lethargic. I believe the lengthy dark and cold was one of the prevailing factors that drove me home early from a family relocation to Denmark.

One of my favorite things to do in late winter is to bring a little Spring into the home. Some years I force paperwhites (Narcissus). I also love to start my garden plants indoors. That will be a later posting!

Every year I also like to take advantage of the many spring-flowering shrubs in my garden by bringing some branches in early and forcing them into bloom. I especially have a thing for pussy willows. I grow three varieties as well as curly willow. These shrubs all take so easily to forcing indoors. As a matter of fact I have so many shrubs because willows root so easily in water -I end up planting all my cuttings!

Here's the new cuttings.

A few days later the Fantail pussy willow is opening.

The black pussy willow still has a reddish cast. It will darken in the next day or two.