Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Some enchanted beading....

Woodland FairySome new beads - all in one torching session. One of those magical moments when it all comes together and everythingin the kiln is a wonderful surprise.

Something inspired me to work with silver and green and along came... The Woodland Fairy. She reminds me of the painting, "Midsummer's Night". It's all shades of greens and sparkling golds.... She's built on a bead so that she can easily hang on a cord or string(s) of beads.

After I finished the fairy, I was in an enchanted mood and decided to make a mermaid as well with the deep colors of the seas and the woodlands... That produced the "Mermaid of the Deep".

Mermaid of the DeepThe mermaid is built on a mandrel so the hole goes through her vertically. I can see her as a focal with a fringe of greens, pearls, and little silver beads spilling out above and below her.

The silver foil deep inside each one shows through in flashes of all the colors used including dark & light greens along with transparent teals - just luscious and they matched perfectly with some of the beads I just purchased at the Lebanon show.

Koi PondAlong with the "ladies", I was inspired to make a few foiled florals, one resembles a deep Koi pond, with the orange Koi flashing through the sparkling water as seaweed and flowers drift among them.

These colors really call to me. They are deep and mysterious.. I may be working with them for some time.

It is so exciting to hit on something that works... I guess that's what it's all about.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The next step...

Packed & Ready to goSo, here's our boy, car loaded and ready to take the next step in his life. He didn't want to pose for this shot, but I told him it really was a momentous occasion and he finally agreed.

I've been tempted to dig out the old pix of him "graduating" from pre-school for comparison, but I'm not sure I could handle reminiscing about that little guy today!

We've been through this before when he left for RIT last fall, and even though this is much closer, I think (and hope) he will find a true home at Ursinus. We may actually lose parts of him as he finds his own niche. Wonderful and awful....

No official programs to help *us* let go, but it sounds like there are lots of opportunities for the kids to get to know each other and to help *them* adjust, which is the most important thing.

We really are here to give him roots and wings. I remember that as my mantra last year and it looks like it'll be a big help again this year.

I'm about to turn on the kiln, light the torch and attempt to get things back to our regularly scheduled program....

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Sizzlers' Event

Well, I had almost regained my bearings after the ill-fated Chicago trip when it was time to get ready for the local Gem Miners' Jubilee in Lebanon, PA. What a fun time!

SizzlersFour of the "Sizzlers" teamed up to man a table at this rock & gem show. Rachel took care of setting us up with the promoter and brought her gorgeous "Kissing Fishies". Ann (and her many, many beautiful and technically perfect beads) came up with a unique table dresing in purples and "grizzly green" that made us stand out. Faith brought a good selection of her goodies all the way in from Chambersburg. For a first time out, it was quite successful!

Here's a shot of my display. First thing on Saturday,My display my "Ursula's Sister" mermaid bead and my "Pink Fairy" bead were purchased. I'll have to make some more sculptural beads - I love to create them and apparently they are in some demand.

My "Blue Fairy" necklace was also purchased. Click here to see a close up of the Blue & Pink Fairies.

A few bracelets, sets and earrings rounded out the weekend.

We were in a new room added to the show just this year, but doing demos constantly seemed to bring people to our table. The promoter seemed to get a kick out of us - the lampworking and demo added something a little different to the many rock, gem and bead vendors there.

I felt like the guy on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore who used to keep me spellbound making his little lacy pyrex creatures, or the guy who made the blown swan barometers - remember them? Since I tend to be something of a ham, I enjoyed the attention and loved answering questions about every facet of lampworking.

It was interesting for me since it was my first time using a "Hothead" torch. The Hothead was the perfect, easily transported and easily set up, tool for a demonstration. Conditions were not ideal and I kept trying to find the sweet spot in the flame. Although wonky, the beads we created were just perfect for their purpose.

Since there were four of us manning the table, we had plenty of time to shop as well. Good time, good company, pretty good sales....and Rachel, great Guacamole! We'll be back next year!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Chicago and Back!

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Here's a picture of Tina behind the table we shared at the Chicago Area Soap and Candlemakers' Conference. You can see my jewelry display on the left and her magazine and book display on the right. Tina isn't really a mouth breather! I think she's talking to our neighbor, Art, the shrinkwrap guy while holding coffee to stay warm.

Well, we made it there and back. What a trip! The universe seemed to conspire to make sure we got our fill of driving and turnpikes this trip. We may not be straying too far from home for a while.

The trip was going pretty well until we got about 2/3 of the way through Ohio. The turnpike was shut down because of a serious accident and Tina had brillliantly decided to turn into a rest stop just before everything stopped. We were stuck there three hours which meant by the time we left, it was close to sun down.

By the time we hit Indiana, it was dark and we were punchy. Road work loomed.. maze like contortions of roads which seemed to end periodically, no they didn't really, but it was getting late.
Then the signs began.... We really didn't understand this one. Here you see it in the daytime - snapped on the way home. But, a sign like this, saying, "Animal present when flashing", looming out of the night is rather disconcerting, especially when it is flashing!

And when it is followed by another sign saying,"Vehicles entering exiting area", confusion is complete.

At least they gave us something to talk about and eventually babble about on the way. The area the IN turnpike crosses is pretty desolate, so...

We looked so forward to getting into Illinois, thinking that, besides the fact that we would be closer to our goal, probably the roads would be in more populated areas... maybe even lighted.

Oh, the road was lighted all right.. And completely under construction... Orange barrels and cones everywhere... At one point, I had to veer around a bridge abutment, but by that time, we were running totally on adrenaline anyway.

It was nearing 12 midnight - our time - and we knew we were getting closer... a sudden exit appeared - and it was the right number (the order of exit numbers had not made sense for some time). We took it, and to our surprise, the gas station we saw ahead (where we planned to ask directions) was a toll booth. We escaped to the correct street and turned almost immediately into our hotel... Whew!

Gee, and almost 5 hours left to sleep before we had to get up for the Convention - great!

The convention itself was great and we made some good sales and even managed to pull off our presentation about adding herbs to soaps and other bath products. If the trip itself hadn't been so bizarre, I'd probably have a lot more to say about this!

Unfortunately, we still had to drive home... The trip home was very similar, even included an extra night we took to hide out from a nasty rain storm and pull ourselves together after a bit too much stimulation from said storm...

We're still recovering from the trip and grateful to have made the final leg of the trip from Pittsburgh to Lancaster without mishap... Maybe next time we'll go East - or north - or.. just stay home!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

New favorites

Champenois August This is another set of the Champenois beads I had on my site. I just love the color combination and had an inquiry about another set after the first was sold. This one is different enough that I don't feel I'm making a copy of the original. This one even has a Pa Dutch look about it... Truthfully, I'm going to have a hard time selling it, because it's one of my favorites of all time. What am I saying? They're all my favorites! Even if I do sell this one, I'll have to make yet another set for myself. I need to make a bracelet from this combo for me!

Pink blue fairiesThese are two "Fairy" beads I've been working on. They are ready to be strung and I've been itching to get started on making something wonderful with them. The colors on both just glow and I LOVE the iceberg/galaxy color on the blue.

As you can see, I've already begun stringing the blue one, and I have a lot of ideas for the pink one too.... Both are perfect for a pendant length that will add a bit of whimsey to winter clothes, I think.

Well, we're getting closer and closer to the Chicago Conference. I'm actually looking forward to the trip and the drive, even with Mercury still in retrograde! If my next post is from Canada or somewhere to the west though, don't be surprised.

I'm about to update my website with a number of new vessels (unless I screw it up again!) and maybe a couple of new sets to replace what has been sold.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Herb Wreaths, time & internet anthropology

Herb WreathHerb Wreaths -
This is a wreath that my sister & I made on Monday (I think). It was for an article in her magazine. We photographed and explained all the steps.

Unfortunately, the magazine is not in color, so I thought I'd post the color version here - didn't it turn out beautifully?

I'm thinking of taking a picture each week as it dries. It'll still be nice, just not as colorful.

Time is just flying by. We decided some time ago to attend, as vendors, the Chicago Area Soap & Candlemaker's Conference, August 13 in Tinley Park, IL.

Soap BeadsI thought I'd have plenty of time to have a large number of soap beads made and ready to go by then. Life seems to have gotten in the way. Between soap orders and the ensuing soap making, etc., dealing with our son getting ready for college and the other normal day to day stuff, I woke up yesterday and realized it's only a week away! How did this happen??? Looks like there's a lot of torch time in my future.

On top of the Chicago Show, the next weekend is the Gem Miner's Jamboree in Lebanon, PA. I was hoping to get some more regular "art" beads made for that!

Internet anthropology - The other thing I've been wanting to write about is sort of a little anthropology study I've stumbled into online. Have you ever noticed that people say things in some forums that they would never say in person? Or, have you noticed how each forum seems to have its own personality?

There are lists I've been a member of for years. One in particular where I feel pretty comfortable has always been very careful about touching on any subjects that might be controversial. Topics are closed before anything even begins. It kinda bugged me. We were adults after all, but I figured it was the list mom's right to make whatever rules they wanted. In the past few months, I've branched out and joined a number of forums and now I understand the rules of the list!

Each forum seems to have a personality of its own. I learned long ago "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

What I've seen in one forum in particular, reminds me of the "in" crowd in high school or the movie "Mean Girls". There are definitely the old-timers who can, and do, say anything to anyone, counting on their "posse" to back them up. Woe unto the new girl who innocently expresses an opinion contrary to the position of the "in crowd". The wrath of the "Mean Girls" is brought down upon her full force. In this case, even the moderators join in. Saw a card the other day that said. "If you don't have anything nice to say... you'll fit right in here." Seems to fit! I've noticed the postings have definitely slowed on this forum since I've been there and it isn't because it's summer.

Those same "Mean Girls" are on other forums I frequent and are completely different people. I can only guess that they don't have their back up. Remember, the "Mean Girls" in high school were pretty nice until their friends showed up!

Just find it interesting.. I thought we left high school a long time ago.