Tuesday, October 20, 2009

october is national adopt a shelter dog month

Just look at that sweet face and pretty smile! This is our own pound puppy Jane, whom we adopted from a rescue group nearly one year ago. I can't imagine this beautiful, loving creature coming so close to being euthanized just because she was found wandering the streets and no one came to claim her. Fortunately I saw her while designing an advertisement for PAWS to the Rescue and something just clicked; you can see another photo of Jane in the "Success Stories" section of the PAWS site, the photo that I first saw of the precious furbaby with the sad eyes about halfway down the page.
Jane has a wonderful home with us now; a nice big yard in which to run around, a cat friend named Chong (okay, NOT - but he's come a long way since the day we brought Jane home and he tried to scratch off her face with tiny fists of feline fury), and lots of doggie treats, grilled beef bones, and love. This girl adores lots of blankets and ... patchouli. Seriously, she wanted to eat a bar of patchouli soap out of my hand and is obsessed with my socks when I first put them on (because they've been in the drawer with that patchouli soap).
This brings me to the real reason for this blog post: October is National Adopt A Shelter Dog Month. Please join the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in getting out the word about this special event - now and all year long. The sagging economy has made the need for pet adoption even more crucial; one of our area veterinarians frequently remarks about the number of abandoned pets that have been left at his office, presumably because the owners can no longer afford to keep the animal. If you're considering a new pet, please visit your local animal shelter, animal control facility, or contact a breed rescue group. You will be rewarded with the love of a lifetime and will make the world a little better for both yourself and animals in need.
For more ways to help animals, check out the information on the Team EFA - Artists Helping Animals Etsy team site (of which Lonesome Road Studio is a member!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

my first "art show"

Last November I was invited to take part in a holiday bazaar at a local, independently-owned coffee shop, selling at an indoor Christmas farmers' market. Up until that point I had only sold my jewelry and artwork online and by consignment at an area boutique/gallery, so the idea of selling in-person was at once exciting... and a little frightening. Looking back on it, my set-up wasn't all that great and I didn't have nearly the stock that I do now. Still, I gave it a shot and was glad that I did. I loved receiving feedback from shoppers, seeing the expressions on their faces when they found the perfect pair of earrings for a gift, and discussing a custom order with another. I even learned a bit about avocados from one buyer!
My next step was to sell at the artist and artisan days the following summer at the same local farmers' market; the price was right and it is a well-known venue in the area. I definitely learned what to do/not to do and I'm working on making the necessary "improvements" like purchasing side walls for my tent and accepting credit card purchases. Likewise, I learned the obvious truth that selling during citywide festivals is a lot more lucrative than on "ordinary" Saturday mornings and I intend to adjust my schedule accordingly next year.
What's next? An actual "art show" - not a market or fair or bazaar. I think that the atmosphere will be different and I'm not quite sure what to expect, which again makes it exciting and frightening, LOL. I'll kind of miss the Italian ice guy, the jelly seller with the incredible pomegranate jelly, and the fragrance of the fresh herbs a few booths away. However, I absolutely look forward to reaching a new group of people, even if they're only lookers (well of course buyers would be better but I'm interested in hearing comments in an "art show atmosphere"). The show is less than a month away (November 14th) and there is much to do, but I'm feeling up to the task and I'm ready to inch a bit further outside of the box.

Friday, October 9, 2009

learning and growing

At long last, I have signed up to do something that I've been wanting to attempt for so long... I will be taking a precious metal clay class in November! I felt that working with precious metal clay was not something to casually research on the internet, or just buy a book and hope to catch on; I really wanted to take a hands-on approach and learn the right way, the first time. So in addition to creating more unique goodies in a different medium, I feel that this will give me even more control over my creativity and my business.
On an unrelated (but sort of related) note... this weekend I will be attempting origami for the first time! As part of a drive to send healing wishes via a 1,000 Cranes project, I will be attempting to create an origami crane of my own (yikes) to send to a woman with brain cancer. What a beautiful, communal way to express wishes of hope and recovery. Check out "The Adventures of BaldyLocks" for more details!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

back to the drawing board

A while back I published a post about the importance of branding and mentioned some resources for accomplishing this daunting task.

Being vaguely unsatisfied with my own branding and wanting to create a more cohesive presence both online and in "the real world," I finally took the plunge and took a hard look at what I was doing. For example, I'm sure that many recognize my avatar from many sites, but in the back of my mind I've always been concerned that the public might think that I create and sell cowboy hats. Or western wear. (Actually the image is my illustration of a Caribbean mermaid called Lasiren.) As much as I liked the red-haired mermaid cowgirl, she really needed to be replaced with a more relevant image. So it's back to the drawing board at Lonesome Road Studio.

The graphic design process in branding is much like getting a tattoo. So many intriguing images and ideas but with the nagging question "Will I want to live with this for the rest of my life?" After much consideration and research, I have decided on a new image, one that best reflects my goals and... what I actually do. In addition to creating a more distinctive and focused image, I wanted it to be unique (of course) and not over-used or trendy. Hopefully I've achieved all of these things and even more hopefully (LOL) I will unveil the new Lonesome Road Studio soon. Keep watching for more news!

Drop me a line at LonesomeRdStudio@aol.com if you'd like to receive a FREE zine/holiday happenings newsletter dishing the latest about Lonesome Road Studio... coming to email inboxes in late October!

Friday, October 2, 2009

sunday dinner redux - love on a plate with a twist 5 - greek-inspired stuffed potatoes

Inspired by traditional Greek flavors, I created these stuffed potatoes just for something new and different.
If you haven't yet tried Greek yogurt - do! Typically made of sheep's milk (but cow's milk varieties exist also) it has a wonderful texture and flavor, and is often slightly higher in protein. The same goes for Kasseri cheese; if you absolutely can't find it in your local stores, then Parmesan will make an acceptable substitute. But do try to find the Kasseri; this is the cheese used in the famous Greek dish saganaki and is also a sheep's milk-based product. It has a pungent aroma and is absolutely delicious.

For two LARGE russet potatoes, bake at 450 degrees fahrenheit (232 celsius) for about an hour or until sides can be squeezed. Twenty minutes before the potatoes are done baking, place one large clove of unpeeled garlic in a small baking dish (like a custard cup or even a small foil pan). Add a small amount of water, cover tightly, and place in the oven to bake along with the potatoes. At the end of the potatoes' baking time, also remove the baked garlic clove from the oven and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, scoop out the insides of the potatoes into a bowl; mash them a bit and squeeze out the soft baked garlic clove from its peel; discard the peel. Mash the garlic in with the potato and add:

1 tablespoon butter

3 teaspoons plain Greek yogurt

3 teaspoons crumbled Feta cheese

4 teaspoons grated Kasseri cheese

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (or fresh oregano, even better!)

salt and pepper to taste (taste carefully first - the Feta and Kasseri cheeses are salty)

Combine all ingredients and spoon back into the baked potato shells. Top with more grated Kasseri cheese, place back in oven for 15 minutes or so until cheese topping is melted. You may also broil for a moment to brown the cheese topping even more.

These potatoes are delicious with roast lamb or chicken, and also make a hearty vegetarian main dish.

Serves 2.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

welcome october!

The moon is full, the autumn nights grow longer,

In the north forests startled crows cry out.

Still high overhead, the star river stretches,

The Dipper's handle set to southwest.

The cold cricket grieves deep in the chambers,

Of the notes of sweet birds, none remain.

Then one evening gusts of autumn come,

One who sleeps alone thinks fondly on thick quilts

Past loves are a thousand miles farther each day,

Blocked from my drifting and my sinking.

Man's life is not as the grass and trees,

Still the season's changes can stir the heart.



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