Friday, January 30, 2009

This week was full of surprises!

I hope this doesn't get too long because I don't have that much time to work on it as nightfall is coming, but I couldn't wait to share. Last week I was really pushed to do something about not having any business cards. For months I have had an idea of what I wanted but could find no one to make it for me. I figured I would have to get a stamp made (and was even having trouble with that through alchemy at etsy) and then make my own. But I really needed to get something going, for now. While stumblingUpon on the internet one day I came across this cool blog that had all kinds of alternative business cards from all over the world on it. I looked through each one and decided to change my design, at least put it on the back burner for awhile, until I can make it a reality and instead concentrate on something I could do NOW.

So I remembered I had an program on my old pc for making business cards and went to make a plain card that I could manipulate for space, as I had decided to add a bit of my art work to the card. My main goal in making them , and even with my first design still in the works, was to make something that wouldn't be thrown away or put in a drawer and lost. I am very ecologically minded as some of you know and besides, what good is advertising your art if it's only tossed in with so many others? So with that goal in mind I started to make what I now call, medallions. I made the cards first so I knew how much room I would have and then I made them in three colorways ( the cards but also the medallions as well).

Here you can see them laid out with coordinating medallions on top, ready for gluing.

So I took three colors of clay, sage green, white and black and started to cut out different shapes and use different molds I'd made all last summer from the produce from the CSA organic farm I am a shareholder/member. Then came the fun part, finishing them. With so many ( I think I had over 40) I had plenty of options in these little spaces to try out many techniques and finishes. I was happy with just about all of them and then glued them to the best matching colored card. I then took some pictures and posted them privately over at my guild. The ladies really went for them, even to asking to have one sent to them! I didn't realize they would be such a big hit. I liked them, and knew if I received one, I would be sure not to hide it away and certainly not throw it away, but wasn't ready for others to take to them so well.

And that was just last Thursday. I only had two pictures for open ( public) viewing of them on my Flicker stream but now have opened up more of the designs I've posted for public viewing.

Wednesday was a crazy day for me, as I wrote about yesterday. I was trying my hardest, between losing power over and over and over again and my dog having a seizure, to trying to get pics in the snow storm to get my entry in the PCAGOE's Feb challenge, as it was the last day to enter. So it wasn't until later that I checked my etsy shop and saw I had made the most sales ever since opening shop in Sept. 2008! Later I checked my blog and noticed a great increase of traffic there, and also over at flicker where I was trying to decide which picture to use for my entry. I knew something was up. Recently I had bought advertising in a National magazine and thought it was too early for release, but wasn't sure ( more about that later), but for some reason, I checked my stats at flicker and noticed that my two public photos of the cards were getting the most hits!

I had, just the night before been reading over at PCDaily, Cynthia's ( Tyndale) article on how to get noticed , for the second time! and again said to myself, I won't ever make it there, because I won't toot my own horn, never have been able to, and not today! Even twenty years ago when doing art and craft shows, I would hide out behind the booth and let my husband smooze the customers, :) he is very good that way, but not I. But this really 'smelled' of a PCD find. I have her in my favorite blogs to follow and get a notice in my emails, both of which I hadn't checked for a couple days, because of working on the ACEO. But early in the morning I finally went to check, and boy was I shocked! Not sure if it was because I'd deduced it or because it was a reality! I sure was stunned and pleased that she choose my medallions and card to feature. You can read the article here, and notice that ( I think at least) the colors of my little pieces go smashingly well with her color scheme on her blog, which I've always admired. I think it's beautifully written too, and very thankful to Cynthia for noticing me!

If you haven't read it already, you can here

Clawson brings organics to polymer clay

I also was blown away by all the comments and wonderful compliments, just for my little medallions~! I know by the stats that many have visited my blog ( I THANK YOU) and my flicker site as well as my etsy store

I made 5 sales that day, and couldn't be happier, because now I can get a beehive for a needy community now! Some of you remember the post I made before the new year,

Heifer International Charity Pledge 2009 for Organic Odysseys

where I pledged that my Organic Odysseys store would purchase one behive per month from the sales, ( which will increase the production of food in needy countrys by the pollinations they do). It was looking glum as I only made one sale this month and that wasn't enough to cover it ( even though I'd vowed to make up the difference if needed) but with these five new sales I am over the top to get one and happy for being able to have my shop support it!

So now You can see I am doing the happy dance all around. :) Not sure how all this 'fame' will effect me, my first thought was to go hide out for awhile! But next month my ad comes out, so I'd better get busy. I am planning on some larger works in the near future, so stay tuned for those!

Not to mention I am currently through the weekend featured in two beautiful treasuries, One called, intriguingly, Treasures that an addict discovers and one almost right under it, titled "The Morning after" by a dear guild mate Angeli, who makes the most scrumptious looking pc goodies you can want! Check out her shop Angeli's Shop and go on a calorie free shopping blitz!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spring has Sprung!

Well, almost! It has for me of sorts. I finally found that round tuit and got busy on making my first ACEO for the PCAGOE February challenge ( voting opens Feb 1st) . I carefully conditioned the clay for the base and cut out, with my ACEO template ( 2 1/2"x 3 1/2") 4 'blanks' with which to work on , leaving a bit of overhang for later trimming from whatever I did to it. I've had the idea in my head since reading Cynthia Tynsdale's post on extrusions. It got me playing around with my extruder again, this time with handy tips for use I picked up while surfing the net and one from watching a Lisa Pavelka video. That is what I used to make my 'prize-winning' entry in last months contest, my 'To everything there is a season', switch plate cover.

After that I began to think about what else I could do with them. I did try out making a stamp, which I haven't employed as yet, but it was fairly easy and I shall revisit that again, this time with a more elaborate design.

So as I said, I think, in my post a few weeks back, I needed to get working on it because Tuscany was heavy on my mind. Well, I did finally work on it, but not until this week. It's not that I'm a procrastinator, ( not me) it's just the more time I have, the more I have to futz and fiddle with it and drive myself crazy, so basically your average perfectionist. So I got down to business on Monday, yeah, this Monday, with the deadline, yesterday.

As I started to say above, I cut out 4 'blanks' to use. This would let me experiment and try out all the different things I wanted to try and pick the best one. I have never made one of these, in polymer clay or other materials so felt the need to tinker a bit. I know others have done these as well as ATC's and also are prolific with all the scrap-booking and altered books materials, so knew I was at a disadvantage. I have some of those things but never got past making some Hanukkah cards or a few photo pages.

Originally my idea was to have these multi-colored ( as in skinner blended) 'sprouts' emerging from a base of woody, mulch-like looking 'something', then that went to ferns emerging in little fiddle heads. In a house I lived in the longest, we had ferns all around. I loved them. I have always had a love for these primitive plants, they just exude peace and tranquility to me for some reason. Maybe because they were here before the beginning of time so to speak. I don't know, whatever it is, I have always had an attraction towards them, but never captured them in any medium I've worked in. So now was the time.

Sunday night while out grocery shopping, as I passed by the floral section on my way to the produce, I noticed some little ferns in pots they were selling. And I picked up this little one called 'Lemon Button Fern'. I loved the rounded leaves and thought it might go well with the others I had at home. So to make a long story short, Monday I experimented with the fronds and some fern stamps I had, and also some new lettering stamps I've just gotten, also on Sunday. Then I painted and sanded with some different colors and metallics.

Neither one of my first two 'blanks' came out well. I had serious ridges from the pasta machine and the fern impressions were too light. Now I 'do' have experience with making many plants impressions so I will have to chalk this up to the clay I used ( studio) which was freshly bought on Sunday for this purpose. But I don't know how fresh in the store it was. But at least it gave me an idea of what to do and what not to do. So come Tuesday, I looked them over and spent a couple hours going over those things, making templates of where to place the ferns, the stamps, etc. I wanted one of the last two to be usable and me to be ok with entering it.
So we finally got to the painting, staining , sanding , repainting, re-staining, and coloring portion, one I really love. Since this was a new 'thing' for me ( the ACEO) I wanted to try all I could on it, might as well get all the bang for my buck (time) as I could, right? I used a mixture of metallics and burnt umber on the beige clay to get my 'woodsy' look. Then I tried out my new oil pencils over the delicate ferns. They work a lot more precise than the pastel chalks I have used previously, and I liked the effect. I had also tried my chalks on the stamps and the previous two showed up after 'staining' but didn't in the second round.

When I was satisfied with the backgrounds, now it was time to make the 'fiddles'! I had already made my skinner blend on Monday and played around with it a bit, rolling out ropes to see how it would look.

I finished them both off differently, one had 5 ferns impressed into the background and had a copper tint and one had three ferns in the back and a golden bronze tint. I had wanted to represent the leaves that are curled up in the little crook, but wasn't' sure how to without going to extremes so I let that be and went for more of an interpretation. The second one however did , by accident, find that touch and I also added a few more emerging fiddles to it. ( See the picture of the one with 5 fiddles).

Then came Wednesday,deadline day, which was not a good day for me here. We had a snow storm, I couldn't sleep the night before until 6am, we lost power 5 times yesterday and my dog had a seizure! All in all I am surprised I got the pictures taken, on my window sill even in the low light, and finally got one posted to the contest flicker stream hours before deadline ( instead of last contest where it was literally a couple of minutes! ).

So, there's my entry, up top. I am happy with it, I chose the one I chose to enter sheerly on the pictures alone, as I tend to like the 5 fiddle one best, but it only looks best in person, not in yesterdays storm light pictures so it has to sit back and let the other one contend. Here are the two together with shots I took today, which is sunny. As you can see though, Tuscany was still heavy on my mind, but I won't apologize for that!

There you have it, more than you probably wanted to know about my first ACEO card. Since I have two of these, they are now a 'series' and I may make a few more ( still more ideas on this subject floating around in my brain) and will post them to the etsy shop. It took me about 17 hours to get this done, but I taught myself new techniques and did a lot of trouble shooting so these new things will come in handy next time I attempt another ACEO or even with my other pieces, so time was well spent.

Just as a sideline, while I was waiting for flicker to upload all the contending photos last night I realized, because I was so tired and had such a day! that I hadn't even checked my etsy shop at all and decided to just go check it to make sure all was well. When I got there, I saw I only had 65 items in my shop.........( huh?)........I was tired but that couldn't be right? There were 70 the day before. And I have only sold one thing this month.........( sad for the bees) ...............I looked and it said total: 15 sales! and I checked and sure enough.......15.....So I started to wonder what had happened! But more about that in my next post, so hang in there, I promise , It won't be far behind!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Waiting for Spring

Sorry I haven't written for awhile, things have been hectic. This past Sunday I felt like taking a ride. It has been almost three months since I was out to the farm. The farm where we get our fresh organic veggies every week and I get my fresh materials for my artwork! I know it's the dead of winter, but I just wanted to see it. It was a beautiful day, clear, sunny and very cold. We bundled up, Jazzy even had to wear her little sweatshirt jacket ( Mommy insisted), I grabbed the camera and extra batteries and off we went.

The drive was nice, but I was driving west, heading into the blazing sun. When we got there it was cold and barren looking, the ground resting in winter, awaiting the longer days, the warmer air, the sun shining down to gently awaken the sleeping seeds in the earth. You could just feel that, even though all looked 'quiet'. It was a great day to take pictures and late in the afternoon so you can see the warm light of the sun as it is heading down for the night. I never really got a good picture of the barn during the summer, I either forgot my camera on good days or when I remembered it didn't take well.
So here's a few I hope you enjoy. This Barn is one of the oldest buildings on the Rodale Farm. It was built in 1836 by a man named Siegfried who bought it from a man named Casper , who was a button maker ( ironically, to me anyway) from Philadelphia. It housed his livestock. Today it houses a exhibit in the back two thirds on the Essence of Food.

That is the sign on the old barn where we pick up our CSA share. It says, FOOD , the Essence of LIFE! See the large white door with the green cross pieces? That is where we enter to pick up our 'share' of the farms bounty each week.

This is the side of the barn with one of the benches that can usually be found inside that I've used to rest my baskets on as I go around the different tables gathering the bounty for the week. Aren't they cute? They are made with old shovel spades.

I hope this picture is big enough for you to see the farm in the background. This farm belongs to a Mennonite family that helps to farm the rest of the land Rodale doesn't use. How ironic it was that through a friend I started to sell some of my quilts I had made after my accident in the 90's there, by my husband taking them out there. I didn't realize until a year later that it was right next door to the organic farm we joined. So this year when I started to sell my organic artwork at the farm ( in that lower window to the left of the double doors) I thought it was so cool that I was selling my art, both textile and clay next door to each other, but not in stores, but an old farmhouse and an even older barn! Cool huh?

So we took a little walk out in the U-pick area. This is the plot of land that shareholders can go and pick their own, flowers, herbs, tomatoes, beans, edamame, raspberries, strawberries and more. We love this part as it makes us feel like we are part of the growing of our food, even if it just means we are picking it. Here's some pictures of the herbs in winter. Some of them are hardy and can winter over, some will reseed themselves. Up at the top of the page is a single head of garlic chives, still beautiful with their seeds spent and dried and brown. Here's a bunch of them together.
The Sage is curled up, but still full of texture, I even picked some to try to get some winter impressions from~!

Here's a head of Anise, with the seeds still attached. Most people are familiar with the anise seeds used in Rye bread. The leaves of he plant can also be used and later in the season the bulb develops and can be eaten as fennel. Here it is even more beautiful with the seeds off of it.

The Dill in winter just like in summer looks very similar, here is a piece that has been blown over into the snow. I remember the last time I was there and I picked some because they hadn't plowed it under yet. I wish now that I had picked more and frozen it. What I do is chop it up and add it to butter, sometimes also adding the zest of a lemon. I used up our final amount I keep in the freezer a couple days ago on some fresh salmon and Talapia. Yum!

We couldn't stay too long as out in the fields there are no windbreaks and my cheeks felt like they were getting frost bite. We let Jazzy sniff around a bit, she always loves going out to the farm to pick up the veggies and cheese and on special weekends, to go out and run around through the rows, sniffing all the wonderful farm smells. Here she is sniffing where the strawberries will be popping up in no time!

All in all we had a wonderful , if short time there and it has rejuvenated me into getting out my sketchbook and looking through those designs I only had time to quickly record during the growing season, in hopes of making them into reality during the winter months.

Hope you enjoyed a little trip to the Organic CSA Farm with me!

(HEY! did you know that you can click on my pics and enlarge them to see better details?)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tuscany Beckons -Spring on my Mind

I went to sleep last night dreaming of ferns, just pushing through the ground as it warms from the spring sunshine, unfurling their heads as if awakening from a long winters sleep. I have been contemplating this for awhile and want to include it in my entry for the PCAGOE challenge for February. I have it all planned out in my head but just haven't been able to get into the studio to work on it, as I have been organizing in there and can only do so much before my foot starts screaming at me to rest ( I think I broke something in my foot months ago and refuse to go to the doctors after having to deal with them about a heart condition for weeks).

This is one of my beauties hanging in the bay window with the morning sun peeking through just after sun up.

So today I must get to work on this fern piece or I may not be able to sleep tonight. Especially since when I got up and went to etsy, I found a convo awaiting me, telling me that one of my pins had been featured in a Treasury by grizzlymountainsoaps who makes soaps from Buffalo Tallow, (sounds really interesting and I will have to check out that shop as I am still searching for the perfect soap maker for me on etsy). She has added my Tuscan style Oregano blossom pin to her beautiful collection. I love Tuscany, the light is wonderful there, the old patinas, the stucco, the tiled roofs, the vineyards, the open spaces, the relaxed way of life, and the Olive Trees, can't forget the Olive trees! I think besides wanting to move to Israel, this may be my second choice of the most beautiful place in the world. The light there alone is an artists delight, and even the most mundane thing has a glow of beauty about it that words cannot describe.

So, I have done a few of my pieces with Tuscany in mind, old villas, cobbled streets, and the earthy goodness that is abundant everywhere. And since oregano is prized in Italy what could be more fitting? I made this to look like it was pried (notice the 'chips') off a Tuscan stuccoed wall, perhaps in some Contessa's kitchen? and then simply framed to not take away from it's natural beauty. The tiny blossoms are barely noticeable but are beautiful just the same, and the leaves, although small, are very distinct, and when rubbed between the fingers, off the most wonderful aroma that brings all kinds of Italian delights to mind.

Ah, see what I mean? So I have to get to work on my ferns, before I am carried away once again to dreaming of Tuscany, and all the treasures it offers. ........

Here's the brooch just laid down on a local grocery store advertisement, Tuscan can look good anywhere! .

But Spring is heavy on the minds of many, especially with the temperatures all across the nation dipping into the teens and single digits. As I look outside, snow covers the ground, the birds scratch through it to find the seed we've left for them, and the sun glares off, making one think, it's not that cold, yet a glance at the thermometer hanging on the porch tells me, no, it's even colder! That's why it was such a delight to find that my Bok Choy Switch plate was included in a Treasury Titled, Summer in the Meadow! It looks wonderful among all the choices, and I love that textile bowl, if only I'd continued with my experiments with soluble stabilizer, I'd made some earrings with it years ago, but that is as far as I got. Anyway, here it is, take a look and forget about reality outside right now.Thank You Lynn Davy of nemeton a wonderful bead artist from the UK! Who made this wonderful treasury!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Button, Button who's got my Button?

Late last year I went back to the very first thing I ever created, almost two decades ago, buttons. I made a few and listed them in my shop. Then I made a variety and gave them to a friend to experiment with and use in innovative ways. I have posted some of these on flicker, and plan on doing quite a few more in the coming months. I also have a design in mind that I may enter into a contest, more about that later.

I was hanging around etsy today and saw that the treasury was about to open soon, with my window open to the treasury, off I went to work on my studio. I have finally gotten around to reorganizing my space so I can feel unburdened and able to let my creative streams flow. I am making great headway, then I looked at the clock ( which I moved and have now to get used to it's new place). Something faintly flickered in my memory that I was supposed to do something around that time. I couldn't remember what. I went out to get a drink in the kitchen and glanced at the laptop sitting on the dining room table. It was then I remembered the treasury! I quickly brought it up and saw it was over 600 ! I'd missed it by just a half hour! The other day it was only 13 minutes! Oh well, I guess when that happens I should just set the cooking timer and hope I remember why!

Anyway, I made a quick trip through to see if anyone I know made one, didn't find any, but did find this, I love how my button looks with these other muted tones of blues and browns. Also the different textures. Thanks kraplap , I love round things too! Check out her shop, some very unique, and funky items there, not your everyday hand crafted items. Make sure to look at the things made with buttons, I would love to see what she could do with some of mine, I will have to get busy on my New Year's resolution to spread out more and ship outside the US!

Something 'new' that I will be adding to my shop very soon is this nasturtium bracelet which I decided to finish a bit differently than the other bracelets I've made. After finishing the tiles and trying out different beads, I decided to make a button from the molds I'd made of the seed pod heads of the nasturtium flowers.

I made two so may sell the other one separately . I think it's quite interesting in it's own right, but also makes the perfect finishing touch to the baby leaves and buds of the nasturtiums featured on the little tiles. I know I have to get exploring some of the other vegetation I took molds of, but have to admit I am very partial to the Nasturtium plant and is it any wonder? :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Good Taste comes in many packages

Good Morning!

A bit of news to share. The first Polymer clay competition/contest/challenge I have ever entered was the one held by my etsy guild PCAGOE January Challenge. I think I posted about this last week, and my new friend Milica Bubanja from Slovenkia took 1st place with her stunning black and white millefiori necklace, which sold before the contest was over! Congratulations Milica! I tell you, no one could be more surprised than I was that my entry took 2nd place from 23 submissions. My husband keeps telling me I am my own worst critic, and I am, but I am still astonished by this! Truly, but thankful to those who appreciated my efforts in my entry, which in reality, combined ( I realized this after I made it) three of my favorite things together.

Third place went to this dancer doll of Kerijoys, who makes wonderful wall dancers, please check out her shop on etsy.

The three things ( three 'T's') combined in my entry are 1. Trees, I love them, more than flowers even, I have always loved trees and forever it seems tried to capture them in many of my artistic endeavors, through many mediums, only to feel disappointed that I never came close. This one wasn't too bad and I think that is because of the way I used texture to help interpret the bark, by using extrusions and my sculpting pen.

Then there is the background of Time, I have always been in love with clock faces, it doesn't matter what numerals it uses, they just have a strange attraction for me, which probably explains the 3 1/2' clock table that sits in the middle of my living room. A piece I acquired at the Mystic Seaport Museum over 15 years ago and which I will hang onto until I die. Then there were the words, Text. Those that only know my work by my Organic Odysseys series haven't seen this yet, but in my other works I love to add words, they are the main focus of the piece. I shall be doing this with my organics as well, shortly I hope. So all in all it is an interesting piece and I guess others thought so as well, and I thank you!

Here's my clock table shown with some magazines I got yesterday for perspective.........:)

Now for a different kind of good taste! :) I have discovered a new flavor of coffee, at least it is to me, if someone out there has already been doing this, well, I'm just catching up, but I promise I didn't find this on the Internet or at any restaurant ( which I haven't even had a bought coffee out of my house for years because I have Celiac disease) so this combo came as a surprise and delight that it tastes so good.

As you know, I like earth friendly things, not only eating organic, and building my art around it, but also in recycling, reusing, re-purposing, in other words, getting all you can from something. Now when I have citrus in the house, one of my favorite things to have to add to baked goods, before squeezing for the juice I always try to wash the outside rind well and then use my new(ish) microplane to shave off the wonderful zest. I use this in a lot of my baking as I do all my own, being gluten and wheat challenged, and it add flavor to all kinds of goodies. Orange can be used in cranberry bread, pumpkin bread ( muffins too) pancakes, even banana baked goodies, as well as chocolate cake! Lemons and limes have their place too and if not using them with fish, or guacamole, cold bean dishes, then they make it into some of the baked products as well, Lemon poppy seed muffins anyone?

So the other day I was preparing to squeeze some fresh OJ for breakfast, and I washed off the orange, and dutifully shaved off its wonderful zest onto a paper towel. If I am not using right away, I leave it there to dry out and then store in a little glass cup until needed. So I didn't have any baking on the schedule the next few days, so it sat on the counter. Now ever since our coffee pot broke, I have not replaced it because My hubby will drink a whole pot and I don't believe we need that much stimulation, sleep is a lot better for your body, so we have cut down greatly. But sometimes you just want a nice cup of coffee. To conserve on paper waste, when I did have the pot, I bought a gold filter, it is a very fine mesh, gold plated that you use in place of the paper ones and you just wash, rinse and use again and again. So this is how I make my coffee now, one cup at a time, in one of those large 'Friends, Central Perk ' style cups. The filter fits right down a bit in side it ( it also works in a 2 cup glass measuring cup) and I add the coffee.

This is important to know, for a really good cup, you add about 4 tablespoons of the coffee to the filter, this will give you a nice rich cup with no bitterness and not strong, just full of flavor. Boil your water in a tea kettle or pot,pan. Now before you add the water, this is where the flavor comes in, and I have tried, cinnamon a lot, a sprinkle of salt, even some hazelnut flavoring ( I can't get the coffee with it in it, because it may contain gluten so have to use gluten free flavorings and organic too!).

So as I said, a few days ago I was doing this little routine when I spied the dried orange zest on the counter and thought, why not? So I grabbed a pinch ( about 1/2 teaspoon loosely) and crumbled it between my fingers on top of the grounds. Then for some odd reason 'Allspice' popped into my brain. I have added cinnamon before and nutmeg , but never thought of this but figured, what the hey, it's only one cup, so I added a few shakes. Well I have to tell you, I was so pleasantly surprised that I have got to go to the store now to buy more allspice. I made my hubby a cup and he absolutely adored it! Better than any fancy coffee shop he said. Now of course we use organic raw sugar and organic cream in it, but even if you don't it should still come as a pleasant surprise to you.

I think many coffee lovers will like this and even those who love chai's or herbal teas with milk, it spans across many hot beverage tastes. So give it a try, make some when you have company over and you only have an Entemanns cake in a box to serve for dessert, if you make this coffee they will think they are in the finest bakery/coffee shop, and remember you fondly for it!

And for another recycling tip, after your coffee grounds mixed with the orange have cooled off, dry them out ( reuse a paper towel for this) and when dry, put in a recycled jar next to your sink. when you have been cooking, fish or doing some other chore, or even may have paint thinner or something else unpleasant on your hands, shake some of these grounds into your hand with a bit of liquid soap and scrub away! It will take off any grease, paint, and the smells too!

Let me know what you think, I'd really like to hear back from some who have tried it!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Treasuries Galore!

I have been blessed recently to be included in many treasuries and thought I would share and make a public thank you to those who think well enough of my art to include it in this artistic endeavor.

Over the days of Hanukkah, Papercuts from Jerusalem featured my Travelers Mezuzah in her beautiful treasury on the bottom, right under the kinnor harp. This is from my Judaica Store,

I made one myself of my fellow Etsy Polymer Clay artists who feature texture in their pieces, which I , of course love!

It featured fine Polymer clay artists of the PCAGOE street team such as:
with alternates of laurelsteven, pollyhyper and Chicki
If you are intrigued by their works, please click on their names and visit their shops to see more fabulous pieces.

Next I was featured in this lovely treasury by YonatDascalu, both my Eggplant and pearls necklace and my Nasturtium budding pendant! I am honored! Thank you Yonat, be sure to visit her shop on etsy, she does amazing works of art from Israel.

Some of the artists are from our guild, others that haven't discovered what a great bunch we are yet! All fantastic works including that lovely purple necklace from one of our gentlemen members, Revonav.

Then I composed one for the 2009 winter challenge but forgot to get a screen shot of it! But you could see all of the entrants on my other post about the challenge, so no big loss. A few others also made treasuries from it, as we like to get the word out to come and vote and be entered to win beautiful prizes.

I woke up today to find I had two convos, and it's been quiet for awhile so I was surprised to find that I had been featured in two more treasuries, and would like to thank leandogpottery for this one, it is so springy to me, especially since we are in the middle of an ice storm and it's so dreary out!

And then there is this one, the first one I have one of my men's items featured, my Savory Cabbage money clip. This one has been curated by Eugena777 a newly discovered by myself Polymer clay artist!

Thank you all for making my artwork a part of your etsy collage called Treasury!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Organic Odysseys Where in the World are you?

Recently at there was a virtual lab on Bookmarking and sharing, I had been up all night but stayed awake long enough to get the major gist of what DanielleXO was talking about in the lab. I have joined a few of the suggested sites and maybe adding a few more, I just need time to absorb it all in. Once you get my age, learning a new thing doesn't come instantaneously anymore and sadly we have to be patient with ourselves so we can keep up.

I had been trying to 'get myself out there' in recent months, and promoting is like the last thing on my list I want to do regarding my life and art, but in the fast paced world today , it is a must. I have been an artist all my life and have never been good at self promotion. I could coach others on it, and promote some one else's art ( that I liked, I don't false promote anything) but mine, forget about it! When I used to do craft shows ( which I hated) I would always design my booth so that there were backdrops that only let you peek in a little behind them where I would set up a table and be about my work. My husband got the job of schmoozing the customers, and the ladies liked him, and I'm sure he helped make as many sales as my actual products did! But with virtual selling it's different, I can hide behind my blog, my store, my twitter, etc, and promote when and where I want and if I want. My store is open even when I'm not up to manning it, and if someone wants to ask a question, they can convo me, or email me, or comment on my blog. :) So with all the high tech learning does come some perks and I think I can live with that.

So, anyway, when I first opened up my Organic Odysseys Store, which came out of my new direction in my artwork after my second year at the CSA organic farm, after about a month I decided to look my name up on Google search and see if I'd been 'crawled by their web spider'. I only found one listing , don't remember which one it was, but realized I did have to do more to get my name out there and let others know My art existed! So I started reading up on many articles at etsy, and in the forums there. I joined Plumdrop, I joined twitter, I started this blog, I got myself on google base, I posted in the forums, I joined two etsy street teams/guild, I joined flicker, and I found Stumbleupon ( which is very addicting btw). I started doing Treasuries and getting put into treasuries. Whew!!!
Now a recent search for 'OrganicOdysseys' ( with no space) has revealed about 40 pages on any given day! Now some are from promotions from my guild, and pages at etsy, also all the above sites I told you I joined, but some interesting ones came up that I'd like to share.

This was a most interesting one, I found my Bronzed Edamame pin on a site called 'The Worlds Newest pictures of Edamame'

I came across a wonderful blog about a month ago and decided to help promote it by adding their logo to my blog and sharing something NICE someone did for me. I was shocked when I googled I came across this on the Operation Nice blog, how wonderful to get this little story of mine out there, I hope it helps to bring people into my shop to purchase some of these items I've made, as all the proceeds will go to my local animal shelters, and this time of year is a very needy time indeed.

I have been blogged in Serbian, ( thank you MilicaBulbana) In Hebrew In Israel ( todah Iris Mishly) and in Russian from Alice who, along with her followers was trying to figure out how I made my Nasturtium Bracelet. ( it's fun to read the translated pages, and a bit puzzling too! )

I have been listed on a Beautiful Etsy organic blog , found my Bok Choy Switch plate listed on this cake mold site and have seven followers now on my blog and have over 600 visitors to my blog.

I think every item in my store now has a google listing, as well as my sold items page in my store. I also found many of my pictures on flicker in groups under one of the tags I gave them, that was interesting to discover as well. You can see my Bok Choy switchplate here on a page with other true metal verdigris photos. Even an etsy search page on tomato brought up all my tomato items!

So in conclusion, It seems to pay to get your name out there, if only now it would bring some revenue into the shop so I can buy my first beehive for Heifer International!

Happy Organic living everyone!

Oh, and if you would like to find me at my various haunts
OrganicOdysseys on StumbleUpon

And then there's - My Judaica Shop - My everything else, quilts, supplies, whimsys, and other polymer clay art that doesn't fit the other two shops.

Moral of the story: promote yourself in your comfort zone and your art will get out there!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy (Belated ) New Year!

I know I have been remiss about posting of late. Have you ever gotten into a fog around this time of year? Winter, all the leaves are off the trees, even on sunny days the sun is up less than it is down ( at least in the Eastern Hemisphere) and you can get into a funk. I guess that is what happened to me. After I fussed and fiddled and finagled and sighed, I got my first entry into my Guilds First Challenge of the year. Even though I spent about 10 hours on this thing, I am still not happy with it, I was rushed and did some steps backwards that couldn't be changed. I wasn't even going to enter it, but figured, it would give the other wonderful entries a better stand out! lol, Yes, I don't need bad publicity, I am my own worst critic. :)
Here it is, the Title, 'To Everything there is a Season' and I guess that's true with people too and our artistic waves that come and go. The voting opened for this on Jan 1st but I spent the day in bed , only awaking when some of my crazy neighbors decided it would be a good idea to set off some cherry bombs or what ever you call them around Midnight. At least it was cold enough to not keep them outside for too long, then I went back to sleep. I apologize to all those who entered that I didn't post about this sooner.

You can read about the challenge Here, you still have until midnight EST tonight, so go and vote and get a chance at winning some really wonderful prizes. Also note that our Challenges are now opened to anyone even if you don't belong to our guild or even have an account on etsy! As long as you follow the rules you can enter by going to our flicker challenge pool and entering your one best photo of your entry. The next challenge is for ACEO's and people are already entering, so go check it out, enter or vote, either way, participate, it is free and fun!

I will be working on my entry ( I already have many ideas in my sketchbook) and hope to get started on it soon so I won't have as much anxiety this time around because after entering the last one I just basically shut down a bit and couldn't drag myself into the studio. I had many ideas that some ended up in one of my many sketch books, but just couldn't motivate myself to actually try and tackle them.

I rearranged the whole living room, finally setting up a new fountain I designed so now have that lovely , tranquil sound of water flowing again, I even hung my wind chimes in a strategic place so the floor fan, turned on low and ever so carefully aimed will make it just barely resonate with soothing tones.

Last night I did finally force myself to go into the studio and did finish the two other pieces I was working on for the Black and White challenge. Both are Edamame leaves and I think they are pretty cool, I like how the long one took on a rusty reddish tone around the edge when I heat set the paint. I made this one into a choker necklace and the other is a brooch. These will go so well with black and white of course, but I love to see B&W next to bright colors, I think that highlights them both and brings more energy to the whole look. I especially like B&W with lime green or pink, either pastel or hot, even Caribbean sea greens and blues, but not so much red though, I think it's been overdone too much. ;)

I'm still going to work on some of the other ideas I had on my sketch board, as B&W has always been my favorite 'accents' among colors. You would get a better idea of this if you saw my house with lamps that have zebra shades, black and white checkerboards a bit here and there, white frame lace and tatting pieces on a background of black velvet, my various B&W journals, notebooks and pads, and clothing, shoes, and most especially my favorite inspiration, my Dalmatian, Jazmine. :)

Here she is our at our CSA Farm where we get our organic produce share and also have the joy of the 'U-Pick' garden which has constant offerings of things like strawberries, peas, beans, Edamame, all kinds of herbs and dozens of different kinds of flowers to cut and make your own beautiful bouquets. This picture was taken while my husband was picking me a selection of the flowers and I was gathering herbs and leaves for my art and happened to see my babydoll in the flower patch. She is so smart, she only goes in between the rows, never stomps on a flower, or bush or herb. She loves going out to the farm with us, and sometimes we picnic up by the pond on the property and she loves the open fields to run around and sniff everything that's been through there in the past century!

Most of you don't realize with all the colorful offerings I make that black and white is there on most pieces where there is room, but usually on the back of the pieces, in my simple signature cane. :)

I hope to take some pictures today of the B&W pieces I finished and will post them when I do, I promise! I have so many wonderful ideas to try and can't wait to make them to share with you all!

Please don't forget my pledge with Heifer International I wrote about last post, your purchase will not only make others aware of eating organic and the beauty that comes from that, but will also help others to live a more healthy and productive life too! I thank you in advance for your support of this.


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