Sunday, July 27, 2014

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes?

Every now and then, something peculiar happens to make you wonder whether there are dark forces afoot. Or whether you are beginning to lose your grip on reality. Such an event happened earlier today in our kitchen.

A few days ago, Hubs bought some of those "tomatoes on the vine" at the grocery store. He left them sitting on the kitchen counter. They were just ordinary tomatoes: smooth-skinned, deceptively red, and ready to eat (if you like the taste of polyester. Store-bought tomatoes lost their flavor years ago.)

Anyway, they appeared to be perfectly normal. Until this morning. As I was filling my coffee cup, I happened to notice there was something odd about them. Whereas previously they had been smooth-skinned, they were now covered with tiny bumps that looked like teenage acne. A closer inspection startled me even more: there was something emerging from one of them. I adjusted my glasses and leaned in for a closer look. It was a little green sprout! It looked exactly like a seedling you'd find poking up from the soil in a vegetable garden a couple of weeks after planting. Only this thing was growing right out of the tomato. A scene flashed through my mind of something alien emerging from Sigourney Weaver's pulsating torso. Frankly, looking at that sprout pushing up out of the tomato kinda gave me the creeps.

The alien tomatoes. Note the strange little bumps.

Ever seen anything like this? Me neither.
Why would cause grocery store tomatoes to do this? Genetic engineering gone awry? A strange new tomato virus? I'm at a loss for answers. Maybe someone out there can shed some light on the mystery. Anyone???

Now I'm trying to decide what to do with these tomatoes. Out of morbid curiosity I want to observe them further to see what happens next. But I don't want them in the house. Just in case something with a vile personality pops out. One thing I do know: we are sure as heck not gonna eat them!

Text and images ©2014 Lynn Edwards

A Thought for Sunday, July 27, 2014

"If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would have thus been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature." -- Charles Darwin

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Making Envelopes From Old Book Pages

When you wrap a gift, it's a nice touch to include a small gift card or tag. A few years ago my friend Rebecca surprised me with a collection of small, handmade envelopes for Artists Trading Cards (ATCs). She also gave me a cardboard template for making ATC envelopes of my own, and matboard templates for card enclosures.

These small envelopes, sized to hold Artists Trading Cards, were a gift from my friend Rebecca.


I love these exquisite little treasures, made from colorful repurposed papers. Their diminuitive size and cheerful hues are so appealing. So much so that I've been reluctant to part with them. (I know, I know... they're meant to be passed along and enjoyed by others besides myself.) I have to confess I love taking them out of the packet Rebecca made to hold them, admiring her handiwork and their interesting patterns, then storing them away again. Eventually I'll get around to making ATCs to go inside them.

Recently I decided to use the template Rebecca gave me to make some envelopes using old book pages.


The hand drawn envelope template Rebecca gave me. With instructions this clear, I couldn't go wrong. Similar envelope templates are readily available in paper crafting books and on the Internet.

I have an old, falling apart book my sister-in-law gave me that's printed in what I'm guessing is Cyrillic, or possibly Greek. It appears to be some kind of textbook, and its pages are brown with age. They look like they've been dyed with coffee, a popular way to give newer papers a vintage look, but in this case their color is authentic.

I figured a set of envelopes made from these pages, along with some card enclosures, would be a nice gift for my friend Pat, who has been going out of her way to help me source supplies for displaying my jewelry and making sun catchers. (She nabbed a dozen crystal prisms for me this past weekend at a local thrift shop!)

Pat loves antiques and all things vintage. She also loves to surprise her many friends and family with unexpected presents. I thought antique-y looking envelopes and card enclosures would be something she might enjoy using when wrapping some of her gifts.

The book pages were just large enough to accommodate Rebecca's hand drawn envelope template. Fortunately the pages weren't brittle. (This is important; you don't want your envelopes to crumble!) I used my X-Acto knife to cut enough pages from the book to make several envelopes.

First I marked off the envelope's shape by placing the template on a page and running a pencil lightly around the template's edges. Then I cut the envelope shape out with a scissors. Using a glue stick to adhere the flaps, they went together surprisingly fast and were quite easy to make.

An envelope made from an old book page with card enclosure. I made a set of these for my friend who loves antiques and anything vintage.


These envelopes are made from scrapbook papers printed on both sides


To make the card enclosures, I used smooth ivory color card stock for a base. On it I marked off cards slightly smaller than the envelope's finished dimensions, then cut them out using a self healing cutting mat and the X-Acto knife. A scissors would do the job too but the X-Acto produces cleaner, straighter cuts.

I wanted a layered motif on one side, with the back left blank for writing a message. Dark brown card stock cut into rectangles forms a frame or backdrop for "faux vintage" motifs I cut from scrapbook paper. To adhere the three layers of paper to one another I used double sided Scotch tape, but a glue stick could be used instead.

Like the envelopes, the card enclosures went together pretty quickly. Together, I think they make an nice presentation. This set's vintage look is sure to be appreciated by my friend who loves things from earlier eras.

These are so simple and fun to make. You can whip up a couple dozen in an evening while watching TV. Anything from card stock to scrapbook papers and gift wrap paper to found papers can be used and will work well for this project. Just one caution: test the paper you plan to use for the base card to make sure it doesn't bleed or bead up when you write on it with ink. Do this first before cutting the "base" pieces.

I kept my card inserts very simple, but you can get as elaborate with your design as you want to. You could add stamped images, dimensional paints, photos, dried botanicals, fabric scraps, ribbon, trims, buttons, beads, image transfers....whatever strikes your fancy.   

I'll probably continue to hoard those cute envelopes Rebecca made for me, but I'll pay her kindness forward by making more envelope and card combos in a variety of styles. They'll make nice thank you gifts for buyers when I'm filling my Etsy orders. And they'll come in handy whenever I need to wrap a gift for someone.

Perhaps this post will inspire you to make some up for yourself or your friends. You can design them to be all-occasion, or go for a holiday or birthday theme. Nor do you have to stick to small sizes. Full size envelopes are just as easy to make. So look around for some suitable papers, gather your supplies and let your creativity shine!

Text and images ©2014 Lynn Edwards










Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Thought for Sunday, July 20, 2014

"A morning glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books." -- Walt Whitman

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Very Best Fried Chicken Ever

I love fried chicken. Nothing can compare to honest to goodness home fried chicken -- succulent, with just the right amount of crispy golden coating, seasoned to perfection, bursting with juicy flavor...........but I digress. Sadly, I have avoided eating fried chicken for years due to health reasons. But on our last trip to Asheville, my resolve to "eat healthy" vanished when our friends Gail and Ed introduced us to a gastronomic den of iniquity known as Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack.

The minute we stepped out of the car onto Rocky's parking lot, I knew I was in trouble. The delicious fragrance of chicken being deep fried wafted through the air, putting my taste buds on high alert. Inside, I dutifully scanned the menu for something that wasn't fried, but by then I was hopelessly in the grip of an overpowering urge to sink my teeth into something that was fried. Every fiber of my being was screaming for that incomparable taste and texture, fueled by the heady aromas that had assailed my nostrils the moment I had opened the car door.

The chicken that led me into temptation.

When I spotted a menu item touting chicken featuring a sweet-hot crispy coating, I was done for. Like a bird dog on point, my attention never wavered from that one selection. It sounded soooo good. It was all my naughty fried chicken fantasies come true. Ignoring every health dictum about high cholesterol and stifling a mental image of my frowning cardiologist, I eagerly placed my order: a plate with two thighs, fried okra (hey, as long as I was sinning, I might as well take it to the max) and sweet potato casserole with a slab of cornbread on the side.

When they brought the food out, I couldn't believe my eyes. On the oversized plate were two of the biggest pieces of chicken I had ever seen. They were so massive they looked like thighs from a 30 pound turkey. A restaurant employee had forewarned us about the portion sizes prior to our placing our orders, but I had taken the information with a grain of salt. I should have listened to him.

When I sank my teeth into that chicken, it was like fireworks exploding on the Fourth of July with a visit from Publisher's Clearinghouse thrown in. The taste was beyond delicious. It was oh-my-god-don't-let-it-end-super-freaking-awesome. Never, in all my life, have I had fried chicken that tasted that good. This wasn't fried chicken; it was a religious experience on a plate. I ate the whole thing -- every single bit of it. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned......and would do it all over again without a shred of remorse. It was worth every. single. decadent. mouthful. I might burn in hell for my gluttony and for the horrors inflicted on my arteries, but I don't care.

It's a darned good thing we don't live in Asheville. I'd be slinking over to Rocky's on a weekly basis. Just knowing the place was within a few minutes' drive would be enough to do me in. I'd be like a drug addict whose life is totally focused on getting his next fix. Oh yeah, Rocky's corrupted me, all right. Every time I think of that glorious goodness, that melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness, I get weak in the knees and start salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs. The only antidote I have for this insatiable craving is holing up in my studio and concentrating on my art. It's impossible for me to focus on fried chicken and design and composition at the same time. Thank goodness there's something that can take my mind off Rocky's.

If you ever find yourself in Asheville, take my advice and avoid Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack like the plague. It's in West Asheville at 1455 Patton Avenue. You're much better off not knowing what you're missing, but if you do go, call me. We'll start a Rocky's Chicken support group.

Text and image ©2014 Lynn Edwards





Monday, July 14, 2014

2 Rules Fine Art Now Carries My Original Art Pendants and Mini-Collages!

I'm very pleased to announce my Original Art Pendants and mini collage paintings are now available through 2 Rules Fine Art in Marietta, Georgia!

2 Rules is a beautiful contemporary gallery offering an extraordinary selection of two dimensional art as well as sculpture, handmade jewelry, pottery and many other artisan-created items. (Not to be missed: owner Helen Rule's magnificent chainmaille jewelry and delightful origami birds!)

The gallery is located in Marietta's historic district, just north of the Square, at 85 Church Street. 2 Rules is known for offering art of exceptional quality in a welcoming environment. It's so exciting to have my work featured here! With its gleaming wood floors, clean white walls and open, spacious feel, 2 Rules offers you a comfortable, pleasant experience from the moment you walk through the door.



 
Elegant chainmaille pendants created by Helen Rule

Until now my pendants and mini collage paintings have been available only through my Etsy shop, playingwithcolors. They will continue to be offered through Etsy, but if you would like to actually see, hold and -- in the case of the pendants -- try them on, I urge you to pay 2 Rules a visit. 2 Rules is now offering a large number of pieces in the pendant collection, ranging in size from 1x1 inch to bold statement pieces measuring 1 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches. Pictured below are just a few of my creations you'll find at 2Rules:

My own hand painted art papers and intriguing foreign "found" papers form the colorful design on this piece. A luxurious black silk necklace cord (not pictured) with lobster clasp and two-inch extender chain is included.                              © Lynn Edwards

This pendant was created using stamps I designed myself. After stamping onto the paper, I then hand embellished the design with different colors of permanent artist's inks. The pendant is suspended on a silky black necklace cord  (not pictured) with lobster clasp and two-inch extender chain.    © Lynn Edwards

One of several mini-collage paintings now available at 2Rules. Displayed on its own wooden easel (included) it brightens a desk, shelf or tabletop using only a few inches of space. A mini-collage painting makes the perfect gift for that "person who has everything!"          © Lynn Edwards
All of my pendants and mini-collage paintings are created exclusively by me in my North Georgia studio. Each one is a completely original, one of a kind work of art that will never, ever be duplicated or reproduced. I invite you to go by 2 Rules and check them out. Browse all the beautiful items you'll find in the gallery. It's a feast for the senses, and a great place to discover artful finds you won't see anywhere else.

Visit 2 Rules on Facebook: www.facebook.com/2rulesfineart
Visit 2 Rules' web site: www.2rulesfineart.com

Text and images ©2014 Lynn Edwards

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Thought for Sunday, July 13, 2014

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." -- Aristotle