Remember back in November….


So back in November I went on a really cool trip to Mexico.

Since then I’ve been a little busy.

Which means that until last Thursday I had not even touched any of the pictures I took.  So here are a few of my favorites so far.

Puebla Street Scene

Street scene in Puebla Mexico

Pulque Aguamiel Extraction Expert

Aguamiel extraction specialist at a working Pulque producing hacienda.

Pulque Hacienda Views

Fields of corn & maguey surrounding the hacienda with a backdrop of fantastic scenery.

AKA Speedy G

My friend for the week, his real name was Speedy Gonzales but he had a big dog personality stuffed into a little dog so I re-named him Zander and would have taken him home.

Volcano View

View of the distant volcano out our back yard.

One of many church spires around the area.

Walkway surrounding the entry courtyard on our Hacienda tour. Fantastic arches & cobble stones.

An example of some beautiful iron-work at the Hacienda

Maturing Maguey Plan

The Maguey plant when left to itself will send up a flowering stalk, I wish we had seen one in bloom.

Hacienda Entrance

First entrance into the walled Hacienda. Cobblestones, brickwork, artisan woodworking & maguey plants.

Inside the Pulque Hacienda View

View of the surrounding countryside from inside the walls of the Pulque Hacienda

Barrells of Pulque

Pulque is briefly stored in barrels before being delivered to various eateries & pulque bars. Corked with some sort of cane to help it breathe and not blow up in the barrels.

Scenery en route to Hacienda

Surrounding scenery en route to the Pulque Hacienda. Beautiful countryside.

Streets of Puebla Mexico

I believe this was the view of a street in Puebla from our first day… but it could have been Tlaxcala where we tried to catch the mystery bus.

PS. I fully intend to organize things into a more coherent post.  Maybe by day, maybe by place, maybe by recipe… hard to say.  🙂

Chalk and Attachments



I’ve been thinking about first loves a lot lately.  Mostly prompted by two fantastic books, both written by Rainbow Rowell, Attachments and Eleanor & Park.   Attachments is about how long it can take you to recover from a broken heart & what it feels like to open up and find a new love.  Eleanor & Park is about first love in all its headlong glory.

So that got me thinking about falling in love and how much it can feel like springtime.  Which is not an original analogy at all… but still.

And that’s kind of what inspired this drawing.

Some times I try to do things in pencil or charcoal and something in my brain just wont let me.  And I wasn’t feeling the water colors cause I really wanted to touch & convey movement.  If I had clay I would have tried sculpting what I was feeling. So I went with chalk.  Which I really need to stop doing on the living room floor cause my rug is starting to collect interesting colors.  Much like my room at Mom’s house.  Sorry Mom.

Its been a few weeks since I felt like doing anything artistic at all.  But then last night after reading, working in the garden & playing with Saff I cranked up Lana Del Ray and made a mess.  I felt like the gate got left open and my right brain got loose.  It was great.

That feeling was somewhat of a surprise since I spent most of the time pulling weeds and thinking too much about the first time I fell in love.  The whole better to have loved & lost versus never loved at all quandary.   So yeah, I was WAY too far into my head and it took a couple of hours of playing in the dirt to get out of there.  Stupid brain.

Dearest Douglas


Its been a Douglas Adams kind of week.

To start with was the KLCC Brewfest in Eugene last weekend where I sampled a glass of the PanGalacticGargleBlaster Beer from Falling Sky Brewery which is incidentally also from Eugene.  Bitter & hoppy… much like the drink described in HHG.

the alcoholic equivalent of a mugging – expensive and bad for the head” and states that the effect of one “is like having your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick”.

Then was the illustration Friday challenge.  Storm.  Which went through several revisions in my head and on paper before I landed on this with the aim of illustrating the following excerpt from So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.

“And as he drove on, the rain clouds dragged down the sky after him for, though he did not know it, Rob McKenna was a Rain God. All he knew was that his working days were miserable and he had a succession of lousy holidays. All the clouds knew was that they loved him and wanted to be near him, to cherish him and to water him.”


Personal Storm

Read more from the quoted chapter HERE.

Incidentally the quote above came to mind while I was washing the dishes, thinking about Douglas Adams and listening to Weather With You by the Finn Brothers.

And if you dont know about Douglas, HHG, or Finn Brothers… I suggest you get enlightened quickly because you simply will never be a Hoopy Frood till you do.



Ok, as far as illustrations go this is a complete failure, so I didn’t send it to the IF site.  Cant honestly say you are illustrating something if you just write the words down in a different style.

But… my favorite collection of Myths is from Rudyard Kipling.  I got completely wrapped up in re-reading the Jungle Book collection and his poetry this week.  I also realized that I can NOT draw jungle animals from memory, and my house is sadly lacking in books with pictures of jungle animals.  Do’H!

So instead I went with watercolor & rusty calligraphy for the opening lines of The Law of the Jungle.

The Law of the Jungle

The Law of the Jungle

And in case you aren’t real familiar with Rudyard Kipling’s works may I suggest Toomai of the Elephants, and The White Seal… two of my absolute favorites that I really hope to play around with illustrating this weekend.

I will remember what I was, I am sick of rope and chain– I will remember my old strength and all my forest affairs. I will not sell my back to man for a bundle of sugar-cane: I will go out to my own kind, and the wood-folk in their lairs.

I will go out until the day, until the morning break– Out to the wind’s untainted kiss, the water’s clean caress; I will forget my ankle-ring and snap my picket stake. I will revisit my lost loves, and playmates masterless! 

– Opening Poetry from Toomai of the Elephants

The Monk of HyBrasil


This week’s Illustration Friday word was Ocean.

From where I stand the Ocean both inspires and intimidates me.  While I am safely at home I can hear its roar which reminds me of its power, its boundaries, and its constancy.  On days where I need a break it is there for me to travel along.  It coughs up treasures for me to find, shells, spray paint cans, seaweed.

The story of HyBrasil is one of my favorite Irish stories.  Much like that of Atlantis, it is an Island with either a city or monastery or castle on it (depending on the version you hear) that lies beneath the waves.  It has been woven into Irish folk-lore since man first sailed away from the shore.  The version I am most familiar with is that of Saint Brendan the Navigator who set sail in a leather boat, and found the island after hearing of it from a holy man, and following tips from a bird on Paradise Island.  I like to imagine this island truly does exist and it is still sitting on a shoal under the ocean.  Once upon a time it was visible and occupied but that was when the tides and currents traveled a different route.  Nowadays the only Monks inhabiting it are of the Seal variety.

Monk of HyBrasil

In addition to letting my imagination loose on the project I re-discovered how much I enjoy watercolors despite the fact its been over a decade since I last played with them.  I also realized how much I can use some practice at watercolors!  Oh well, the goal was to have fun, which I did.

Watercolors in the Living room

New As Illustrated by Orn


New Illustration (1 of 1)

Hey, whats up?  Whats new?  Isn’t that what you say to friends?  So looking backward at the new things I experienced in 2012 here is what New means to me.  In particular what was new in 2012.

Lots of new music –  A Silent Films & the Band Barcelona were the saving grace to the Blue October Concert my sister and I attended, these two really great bands were brand new to me and I promptly went home and downloaded their albums.  Rebecca Ferguson is my girl crush du jour, an amazing voice that makes me think maybe Aretha Franklin and Macy Grey had a baby who listened to a lot of Tracy Chapman.  I also fell in love with Gotye… and I don’t mean the one pop song that saturated every radiostation… I mean the guy’s whole stinking catalog.  Then watching him perform live at McMenamins Edgefield on the Lawn with a Ruby Red in hand my family around me watching some of the coolest original graphic art work paired with his music sealed the deal.  Oh, and how on earth could I leave out my little Honey Honey Band?  With lyrics to their new song Thin Line “‘Cause I want whiskey when I’m sick, And a man when I’m well, But it’s nice to have them both sometimes, When I feel like raising hell” which resounded in a big way with this lil’ whiskey lovin’ girl.

New Experiences – The biggest of which was the trip to Mexico.  On a whim I signed up for a week-long cooking class deep in Mexico… on my own!  On the way down I spent the day in Houston, which was not long enough to see all Huston… but was enough time for me to get stuck in the barren and scorched patch of dirt they call a park.  I am sorry Texas people… but y’all don’t know what a park is till you’ve been to Oregon.  Parks have green in them, and not just at the golf course.  Mexico was a learning experience every single day, from new cooking skills, to new ways to think about food, to learning history, soaking in the scenery, and meeting new people.  I also got to drink Pulque on a hacienda tour while in Mexico and toured the underground pyramid in Cholula.  Two very uniquely new experiences.

New Four Legged Friends – Looking back on my facebook activity profile I’ve noticed a strong trend towards the dog-centric aspect of my life. From our very long babysitting of Buddy & Holly the Beagle Babies, to mega wrestling matches with Burton & Buddy, loudmouth contests with Haus, to spa weekends with sweet miss Daisy, to a chaotic weekend with Kona, the last year introduced us to lots of new dog-friends and gave my carpet a run for its money.  Saffy and I also completed basic obedience training for the second time with our new teacher Dina of Surf City Dog Training and it made a huge difference.  Next year I hope to do level 2 training with Dina and plan more dog-days where Saffy and I just do things that are fun for her… hikes, swims, beach, dog park visits.

New Skills – Once again my Mexico experience weighs in heavily with beefed up skills in the kitchen including but not limited to: stuffing chiles, making tortillas, de-stickering Nopales pads, and having a better grasp on making Mexican sauces and cooking beans.  I think overall it taught me more about using ingredients I’m familiar with in a completely new way, and that in itself has been very fun.  Also in the culinary department is more experience cooking for friends with dietary restrictions.  And since I already consider cooking for my friends a special way of saying “I Love You”, I now feel I can say it louder by feeding them things that dont give them tummy troubles.  In the studio its hard to say one new skill I learned, but with the help of some new tools my existing skills have improved.  I think my finished jewelery is starting to look like the real thing!  Er… most of the time!  And personally I made it a goal to schedule time with my friends and only missed a couple play-dates due to ill-timed colds & coughs.  It has been really wonderful getting to connect with my friends and to at least let them know I WANT to spend time with them.  Sounds silly, but it became a very important part of my year and a new habit I will try to hang on to.

There were so many other things that were new to Orn-land this last year and I am so happy to look back on my calendars and remember the fun times the travel and all the NEW that filled my hours.  I am already plotting and planning for what New things I can do in 2013!

How about you?  What did you do that was new to you?  Do you have plans to do something new in 2013?

Muse Wanted


I’m completely stuck today creatively speaking.  So if you think you can be my source of inspiration, creativity re-leaser, and writing block demolisher please let me know.  I’ll be taking applications thru the end of the week for the position.

After that point I’m going out to buy spray paint to see if that shakes anything loose.

Its Not Easy….


Being Green!

Well it turns out creating with just one color isn’t as easy as I originally thought it would be.  I started out with a couple of ideas and by pulling out every single green bead I had in my stash.  Since green is one of my favorite colors, there were many many many beads to work with.  So then I had to start narrowing it all down.

I wanted to do something with a bit of weight, but still delicate… just like all the plant starts in my garden.  Bright, delicate, and strong.  So I started playing around with some bead stitch work and came up with the basic shape I wanted.  Originally I pictured doing a necklace of various green circles graduating from one color to another.  But time constraints won out this week and I have to console myself with just a bracelet… and plans to make the necklace at some time after our Family Anniversary is over.

So without further ado… here is my little contribution.

I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else made, follow the links below to check out some what I am sure will be some seriously cool jewelery!

HUMONGOUS Thank you to Sally Russick of  The Studio Sublime for coming up with, co-coordinating & holding this challenge.  As I mentioned, this is my first challenge… and it was really fun!  Thank you Sally!!!

One Color Crayon Hop Participants

Hosted by:

Sally Russick


Therese Frank

Rochelle Brisson

Lisa Lodge

Malin de Koning

Bobbie Rafferty


Linda Landig

Cherrie Fick

Beth McLarnan

Cece Cormier

Renetha Stanziano

Tanya Goodwin

Jean Welles

Amy Severino

Rebekah Payne

Lola Surwillo

Judy Turner


Jennifer Justman

Rose Brisson

Kim Bender

Heather Powers

Shelly Joyce


Cherie Reed

Rebecca Anderson

Hope Smitherman

Patti Vanderbloemen

Michelle Buettner

Alicia Marinache

Charissa Sloper

Sonya Stille

Maria Grimes

Nancy Saccoccio

Sandi Volpe

Joanne Tinley

Catherine Pruitt


Mary Harding

Karin Gilman

Jayne Capps

Lorelei Eurto

Melissa Meman

Alice Peterson

Jenny Davies Reazor

Cynthia Machata

Melissa Essenburg

Regina Santerre

Hey look… its ME!  -> Lauren Streets

Elizabeth Auld


Tracy Mok

Jennifer Judd Velasquez

Marti Conrad

Lori Anderson

Donna Bradley

Courtney Breul

Linda Younkman

Susan Kennedy

Lisa Liddy

Tracy Stillman

Dawn Doucette


Diana Ptaszynski

Shannon Chomanczuk

Janice Everett

Karen Williams


Kashmira Patel

Heidi Post

Birgitta Lejonklou

Holly Westfall

Karin Slaton

Wait…what happened to March?


The color green has been on my mind in several ways of late.

Edibly – First off… let me introduce you to something both annoying and delicious.  Corn Vit.  Its annoyingly EVERYWHERE in my garden.  A couple summers back I thought it would be an interesting little thing to try and grow.  And grow it did!  It comes up EVERYWHERE!  In the carrots, around the squashes, twined around the onions, its even snuggled down there at the base of the peas.  Well the good news is that it is delicious, and packed with all sorts of vitamins according to most of the web-searches I did on it.  So last weekend I picked a batch of it, cleaned it, and had my very garden based meal.  (Side note… cleaning the stuff is really a booger if you were not planning to pick it and instead dug up other weeds instead and in the process covered it with dirt.)
Turns out this will now be my new alternative to spinach.  A smidgen of olive oil in a pan over medium heat, a clove of garlic, a large pile of corn vit… sizzle till wilted & fragrant.  Then toss with cooked pasta and toasted sunflower seeds and a pinch of Celtic finishing salt. YUM!

Creatively – Green has also been on my bead table in several different forms.  I’m participating in a monochromatic color challenge put together by Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime.  I’ve become familiar with her work through a couple of super secret beading forums on Facebook.  Yeah, that’s right… I’m part of a super secret forum.  I know people who know people.  Don’t mess with me.  Well I might be overselling that… but in any case those groups are filled with funny and crazy talented ladies who like to talk ideas, beads, projects, and whatever else comes out of their creative brains!  Sally posted an invite to join the blog hop so I’m tryin it out.  I have chosen the color green to make something monochromatic out of and I’ve got a ton of ideas.  I have a hard time saying which color I love the most because it depends on the shade, and the day, and my mood, and whether we are talking something like flowers or house paint.  But green was the color that popped out at me that day so I’m going with it.  Blog reveal is Saturday the 5th of May.  So I hope you (all three of you out there) will like what I put together.
Growingly! – lastly, but not leastly….  Cause that’s the best place you can find green.  Think about it, do you want green on your steak?  NO.  Do you want green in your shower?  NO!  Do you want green coming out of your dog?  NO!!!!  But you do want green in the garden, and you wait ever so patiently for the dirt to start cracking and showing little tiny first leaves.  And even though they aren’t green, here is a quick intro to some upcoming key players in my yard.


The amazing thing about seeds is how something can be so similar and yet so different.  All the squashes were similar in approximate size & shape… but the weight of them, the thickness all different.  Really fun to plant & will be even more fun to turn into my dinners this summer.  And of course… Saffer’s was helping out by keeping me company and chewing on things while I worked in the garden.