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.  🙂

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?

Wild Friday Nights


So its another wild & crazy Friday night here in the house of Orn.

Saffers & I are taking a training class from Surf City Dog Training trainer Dina Pavlis on Monday nights.  And in order to not blow my budget this month on healthy training bites I have decided to bake my own.

So in the oven right now is a big pile of beef liver and I certainly hope it is dehydrating… because at the moment its just this giant brown pile of viscous organ meat.  Also drying out in the oven are the actual dog treats that I made too.  The dehydrating liver is more of a “well what should we do with the leftover pile of beef liver” sort of experiment.   For way more dog treat recipe’s and ideas check out The Dog Treat Kitchen, it is where I got the idea for Saffy’s Liver Bites to start with.

Here is the recipe I modified a bit for a more Saffy Friendly Dog treat.

Saffy’s Liver Bites
1 Lb Beef or Chicken Livers
1 cup Oatmeal
1 cup Rice Flour
2/3 cup Oat Flour
2/3 cup Quinoa Flour
3 Tbsp Milk
2 Eggs
2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley
2 Tbsp Dog Pawr Joint & Hip Complex Powder (I have a jar of this in the fridge because Saff wont eat it on her kibble, so this seemed like a good way to use it up and add in some healthy extras to the treats)

In the food processor blend the 1 cup of Oatmeal till finely chopped, then add in all the dry ingredients (flours & Dog Pawr) and then transfer to a separate bowl.

Next in the food processor blend the fresh parsley, eggs & milk.  Add to the dry ingredients.

And now the grossest bit… in the food processor liquify the pound of liver till very very smooth.

Add the liver to the other ingredients & blend thoroughly.  The first time I made these treats I used a large frosting bag (which will never ever again hold frosting in it) to pipe out stars on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  This was really cute, but time consuming.  And although I liked how they looked, Saff did not seem to appreciate all the work that went into it.  So this time I decided to go all biscotti-style for the treats and piped long thick lines of the batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, and baked them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees till they were set.  Once the strips were baked soft cookie set I took them out of the oven & let them cool down till I could handle them.  Then I used my super sharp knife to cut the strips into bit sized pieces and then put them back into the oven for an additional 20 minutes at 200 degrees to finish drying out.  If you want to get the pieces super dried out & crunchy you can leave them in your oven overnight after you turn it off to completely dry them out.

So far Saffers seems to love them, and chooses them over her other favorite treats.  Its gross, and the smell is less than delicious, but they are healthy, wheat free, and all I had to go buy was the beef liver, which cost me about $2.


And as we all know, making your dog happy is the best way you can spend a Friday night…

even if your house smells like dried out liver for the next week. 

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

Let Simple things be Simple


Like Vanilla.  Specifically; home made vanilla extract.  I’m sitting here looking at a bottle of clear rum that has about 7 vanilla beans in it.  It also features a label out of masking tape that reads “Use March 2012”.

That is how simple making your own vanilla extract is.  A bottle of booze, vanilla beans, and time.

Granted, not everything can be that simple.  But its amazing how much less complicated things CAN be, especially when you let them.

That is all!


August… in recap


Looking at the calender I figured August was going to be nuts… and I was right.  However, September is doing its best to keep the pace.  I keep reminding myself that November & December will be here soon enough and I’ll be griping about how there is NOTHING TO DO!!!!

It’s been a busy and fun month.  Camping with some friends in beautiful Brookings on the southern Oregon Coast.  It was peaceful, and fun, and I got adopted by my friends zany family.  Er… maybe I should say my zany friends family.  I’m not sure which one sounds worse… that the family is zany, or that my friends are zany.  Nevermind… it was fun.  Four days without computer screens, phones, internet, etc…  Just beaches, campfires, sand, raccoons, and scenery.  Plus we did a quick stop off at the Prehistoric Gardens parking lot to say hi to Rex because, well, it’s tradition!

I also got to photograph a strong man competition that Vic’s Powerhouse held at Three Rivers Casino.  That was a definite change of pace for me… however, strong men picking up heavy stuff is a lovely combination of two of my favorite things.

Group shot of the Feats Contestants

The little girl being held up was the winner of the kids tire flip challenge that was held during the lunch break.  Talk about a Strong Woman in the making!  She (along with many others of us) developed a bit of a crush on the guy in red.   Unfortunately I couldn’t think of a legitimate reason to have him pick up the photographer.

And in the Studio I got to tackle a few new projects.  One project was for a jewelery competition held by Janice Everett of JLynn Jewels a very cool artist & bead maker that I met through my friend Ms.  Amanda Austen of Sea Shore Glass Girl (who many should recognize as the August designer feature in Bead Trends Magazine and who also has a wicked cool Etsy Shop).  This is the piece (see below) I made, and has been earmarked as a gift for one of my friends.  I fear I will have to mail it to her tho, since there seems to be no time free when I can drive it over to her and spend an afternoon in her company.

Center Poppy tile by JLynn Jewels, crystal, smokey quartz, and chain.

The other piece I made for the competition is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Yes, you heard me right… I actually posted something in my Etsy shop.  My shop is named Eggplant And Saffron.  I’m Eggplant, and Saffron is my muse.  Eggplant is one of the nicknames my family bestowed upon me.  Also worth noting that I love the taste of, color of, plant shape, flowers of, and history behind the Aubergine.  Plus Saffron (aka Saferella, Sasafrassy, Saffers, SaffyDog) is the best dog muse I’ve ever had.

Oh, and just one more thing… I also managed to fit in a play date with my Grandma to show her how to do that felting thing I was introduced to at the Black Sheep Gathering.  It was a really fun day, and the first time ever I was able to teach her how to do something! It was also the first time she’s ever just hung out at MY house with ME!

I apologize for my oversight in not taking a finished photo of her fabric piece.  It turned out really nice.  The colors are all wispy and reminded me of a cloudy sky at sunset.

Here is my attempt at “painting” with hair.  I was pleased with how it turned out.  I already have plans for the next one.

As a quick tie in with the last posting, I created the above peice while listening to Gillian Welch Radio on Pandora.  I was in a folksy-frame of mind.

Well I’m tired now, it’s nearly September (literally in and hour & 15 minutes it will officially be September 1st) and the madness goes on.  Should be fun and I’ll try to be better about recording the fun stuff going on & happening in my studio.

~ L




Bucket Head


Bucket Head Beagle is the latest hand-carved stamp.  Hand carved, doesn’t that give you a mental image of me sitting on the front porch whittling away on a stamp… in a rocking chair.

Here is my inspiration for the above stamp.  She was such a good dog.  Doesn’t she look like a little Drum Major?



Sheep Lino Cut
Check him out!  My very first lino-cut experiment.  Sheep design all my own.  He’s going to be a gift for my knitter Mom.  Now I need to find some really rockin paper to print him on… or way to frame him.